Type of skin incision and wound complications in the obese parturient

Am J Perinatol. 2012 Apr;29(4):301-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1295637. Epub 2011 Nov 21.


We examined the relationship between type of skin incision at time of cesarean delivery and postoperative wound complications in the obese parturient. Women with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 29 who had undergone cesarean delivery at The University of North Carolina were identified from the Pregnancy, Infection and Nutrition study. Inpatient and outpatient medical records were reviewed for maternal demographics as well as intrapartum and intraoperative characteristics. The exposure of interest was type of incision, classified as vertical or transverse. The primary outcome was wound complication, defined as partial or complete wound separation. Logistic regression analysis was used to create a final model of risk factors for wound complications while controlling for potentially confounding variables. From 1998 to 2005, 238 women with a BMI greater than 29 who underwent cesarean delivery were identified. Of these 238 women, a vertical skin incision was performed in 25 (11%) and a transverse skin incision in 213 (89%). The overall incidence of wound complications in this group was 13%. BMI was associated with wound complications (p < 0.01). After controlling for confounding factors, no difference in wound complication based on type of skin incision was apparent. The type of skin incision does not appear to be associated with wound complications in the obese parturient; however, larger studies would be needed to confirm this finding. Increased BMI is associated with a higher rate of wound complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cesarean Section / methods*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence*