A randomized, prospective study was designed to compare a continuous with an interrupted technique for closing an abdominal incision. Five hundred seventy-one patients were randomized between the closure methods and stratified as to type of wound: clean, clean-contaminated, or contaminated. In midline incisions, the dehiscence rate was 2.0% (5/244) for the continuous group versus 0.9% (2/229) for the interrupted group. The difference was not statistically significant. Ventral hernias formed in 2.0% (4/201) of the continuous group vs. 0.5% (1/184) of the interrupted group. The type of wound had no influence on the results. In oblique incisions, 0% (0/39) of wounds closed continuously dehised while 2% (1/50) of incisions closed interruptedly dehised. No ventral hernias formed. Further analysis of the data indicated that dehiscence was more likely related to improper surgical technique than to the method of closure. An abdominal incision could be closed with a continuous suture in approximately half the time required for placing interrupted sutures (20 vs. 40 minutes). A continuous closure is preferred because it is more expedient and because it has the same incidence of wound disruption compared with an interrupted closure.
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