Incision closures should yield safe, effective healing with excellent cosmesis. Subcuticular absorbable staples may combine the advantages of subcuticular suturing with the efficiency of percutaneous stapling. This study compares absorbable subcuticular staples with percutaneous metal staples as a means of incision closure in facial rejuvenation surgery.
Sixteen patients undergoing endoscopic eyebrow-lift and/or rhytidectomy were studied. Each patient had 50% of their temporal and postauricular skin incisions closed with subcuticular staples oversewn with 5-0 plain gut and the remaining 50% closed with percutaneous metal staples. Incisions were evaluated intraoperatively and at regular intervals for 1 year postoperatively. Intraoperative assessments included device handling, bleeding, tension, and cosmesis. Postoperative assessments included incision integrity, inflammation, and cosmesis. Patients were also interviewed regarding incision appearance and comfort.
During the early postoperative period, metal staples produced greater incisional erythema and crusting. Subcuticular staples produced better tissue eversion, less erythema, equivalent if not superior comfort, and shorter office visits. These differences faded over time. The need to properly engage the subcuticular stapler in the dermis was the principal impediment to optimal stapler use.
Subcuticular staples represent a safe, comfortable, and potentially more rapid alternative to percutaneous staples. Modifications of the subcuticular stapler device are required before its full potential can be realized.