The use of absorbable staples for skin closure after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy

Vet Surg. 2019 Jan;48(1):35-41. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13114. Epub 2018 Oct 30.


Objective: To compare the use of stainless steel staples with absorbable staples for closure of skin incisions in dogs undergoing tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).

Study design: Prospective study.

Sample population: Client-owned dogs (n = 80).

Methods: With client consent, dogs were randomly assigned a staple type (stainless steel or absorbable) immediately prior to closure of a TPLO skin incision. Incisions were compared for length, staple type and number, and an inflammation-infection score 2 weeks after surgery.

Results: Overall, 18.8% of incisions were diagnosed with inflammation or infection. No difference was found between inflammation-infection scores, incision length, number of staples used, or general anesthetic time between the 2 staple groups. However, wound closure was faster with stainless steel staples (22.50 seconds; range, 11-180) by approximately 30 seconds compared with absorbable staples (56.50 seconds; range, 18-190; P < .001). Time taken to close the incision correlated negatively with the number of occasions that absorbable staples were used (P = .01).

Conclusion: Absorbable skin staples were successfully used to close skin incisions after TPLO and were not associated with an increased level of inflammation or infection in our clinical setting.

Clinical significance: Absorbable staples may be considered to close surgical wounds when subsequent suture removal would be impractical, without specific concerns over inflammation or infection of the wound.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control
  • Dogs / surgery*
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Infections / epidemiology
  • Infections / veterinary*
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Inflammation / veterinary*
  • Osteotomy / veterinary*
  • Random Allocation
  • Surgical Stapling / instrumentation
  • Surgical Stapling / veterinary*
  • Sutures / veterinary*
  • Tibia / surgery*
  • Wound Healing