The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 5, 1474 - 1477

Does Barbed Suture Lower Cost and Improve Outcome in Total Knee Arthroplasty? A Randomized Controlled Trial

Chan, Vincent W.K. et al.
Knee

Background

Wound closure is key to prevent infection, facilitate immediate rehabilitation, and improve efficiency of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Continuous knotless suturing with barbed suture can potentially save time and distribute tension more evenly. However, its role in TKA in terms of cost-effectiveness and wound complications is not clear. This study aims at comparing barbed and traditional sutures’ wound closure time and cost in primary TKA.

Methods

One hundred nine knees were randomized into either barbed or traditional group. Synthetic absorbable sutures (Vicryl, Ethicon Inc) and bidirectional barbed sutures (Stratafix, Ethicon Inc) were used. Arthrotomy and subcutaneous wound closure time, wound complications, and rehabilitation parameters in terms of range of motion and Knee Society Score were compared. Patients were followed up to 3 months.

Results

Traditional sutures had significantly more positive leak tests (10 vs 2, P value <.05) and wound complications (11 vs 2, P value <.05). No differences in range of motion and Knee Society Score were noted. Arthrotomy and subcutaneous closure time were significantly shorter with barbed sutures (arthrotomy 325 seconds vs 491 seconds; subcutaneous 306 seconds vs 381 seconds, P value <.05). Concerning cost of suture material and operation time, barbed suture on average saved USD 48.7 per TKA in our local institute.

Conclusion

Bidirectional barbed suture improves the cost-effectiveness of TKA through reducing wound closure time and wound complications.


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