Objective: To compare various commonly used closure techniques and their esthetic results. Also to look for differences in cost, time, and ease of use among the methods.
Design: A prospective comparison in a porcine skin model with a blinded assessment of outcomes.
Methods: Thirty 6-cm, full-thickness skin incisions were made on the back of two domestic white swine. Undermining was accomplished, and buried simple, interrupted, absorbable, braided (Polysorb, US Surgical) subdermal sutures were placed in a uniform fashion in each wound. The skin was then closed using one of the following five methods: running subcuticular 4-0 nylon, running subcuticular 4-0 absorbable monofilament (Biosyn, US Surgical), tissue glue (Dermabond, Ethicon), adhesive tape, or running subcuticular nylon with intradermal injection of hyaluronic acid. Nonabsorbable sutures and tape were removed on postoperative day 7, and photographs were taken at regular intervals during a 12-week healing period. Biopsies were taken from wounds in each group at 2 weeks and 12 weeks for histologic comparison. Independent observers evaluated the photographs, and an independent histologist evaluated the biopsies to look for differences in inflammation and scar formation. The surgeons who performed the wound closure rated the ease of use and amount of time required for each technique.
Results: Adhesive tape closure was faster and easier to perform. There were no significant differences among the adhesive tape, nylon, or absorbable suture groups regarding cosmetic appearance throughout the study period. The tissue glue wounds had more of a tendency to dehisce. Adhesive tape is less expensive than the other methods when material costs and operating room time are considered.
Conclusion: Adhesive tape closure of surgical wounds is cosmetically acceptable, convenient, and saves both time and material costs. We recommend it as an alternative for closure of neck incisions.