As quality measures may be increasingly used in knee surgery reimbursement, an important focus in outcome assessment will shift toward minimizing complications and increasing efficiency in knee arthroplasty reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of barbed, absorbable sutures in closure of the longitudinal surgical incision following knee arthroplasty, using post-operative complication occurrences. In 416 operations, primary outcomes assessed were deep infection, superficial infection, dehiscence, or stitch abscesses. Secondary outcomes included self-limiting eschar, severe effusion, arthrofibrosis, and keloid formation. Evaluation of overall primary outcomes showed a higher rate of wound complications using barbed sutures (P < 0.001). With increased rates of infection and overall closure related complications, this study shows that barbed suture use for superficial closure after knee arthroplasty should be avoided.