Using metal staples to close wounds after joint surgery may lead to a greater risk of infection than using traditional nylon stitches. Staples are considered quicker and easier. But they are also more likely to cause infection and may be more expensive.
Incision infections are one of the major sources of complications following hip and knee surgeries. They can prolong a patient's stay in the hospital or lead to re-admission.
Researchers analyzed the use of staples versus sutures to close wounds in trials involving nearly 700 adults. Overall, the risk of developing a superficial wound infection was more than three times greater with staples.
And for hip surgery alone, the risk of developing a wound infection was four times greater for patients after staple closure compared to those who had stitches.
For now, orthopedic surgeons are being advised to question using metal staples after hip or knee surgery until further clinical trials are conducted to confirm these findings.