Diathermy vs. Scalpel Skin Incisions in General Surgery: Double-Blind, Randomized, Clinical Trial
This prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was designed to compare the outcome of diathermy incisions versus scalpel incisions in general surgery.
A total of 369 patients who underwent diathermy incision (group A: 185 patients) or scalpel incision (group B: 184 patients) were analyzed. Variables analyzed were: surgical wound classification, length and depth of incision, incision time, duration of operation, incisional blood loss, postoperative pain, duration of hospital stay, duration of healing, and postoperative complications. The inclusion criteria were all patients who underwent elective or emergency general surgery. The exclusion criteria were only cases with incomplete patients’ data and patients who were lost to follow-up. This study was conducted at Fatima Hospital-Baqai Medical University and Shamsi Hospital (Karachi), from January 2006 to December 2007.
Incision time was significantly longer for patients in group B (p = 0.001). Incisional blood loss also was more for patients in group B (p = 0.000). Pain perception was found to be markedly reduced during the first 48 h in group A (p = 0.000). Total period of hospital stay (p = 0.129) and time for complete wound healing (p = 0.683) were almost the same for both groups. Postoperative complication rate by wound classification did not differ markedly between the two groups (p = 0.002 vs. p = 0.000).
Diathermy incision has significant advantages compared with the scalpel because of reduced incision time, less blood loss, & reduced early postoperative pain.
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