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Staples Faster but Sutures Safer Following C-Section

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Speed versus safety — unless you’re talking about race cars, usually the latter is more important. A new report shows that while staples are faster and easier for doctors to use following a cesarean section (or c-section), sutures (or stitches) are far safer.

In a recent study scientists examined 746 women who had undergone a c-section. Women with serious health issues — like diabetes, chronic drug use, lupus, or HIV infection — were excluded.

The scientists found that more than one in ten women in the staples group suffered wound complications, like infections and separations. Meanwhile, just one in twenty women in the sutures group experienced the same problems. Overall, scientists determined that using sutures reduced the possibility of wound complications by a fairly incredible 57 per cent.

Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, who helped author the report based on the study, says it’s important that women think critically about the use of staples following a cesarean section.

“A woman undergoing a c-section should ask the doctor what they’re going to use,” Berghella said. “If they hear ‘staples,’ they should question that. It’s clear that sutures are going to cause fewer wound complications.”

The advantage of using staples is speed. The scientists found that, on average, it takes doctors nine more minutes to close a c-section wound using sutures.

It’s worth noting that the study was funded by Ethicon, which makes sutures. The report can be read in the June issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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