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Nylon sutures versus skin staples in foot and ankle surgery: is there a clinical difference?

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Staple sutures have already been proven as a good alternative to nylon sutures for wound closure in hip and knee surgeries. One such advantage to using staple sutures is the significant decrease in surgical time. In foot surgeries, staple sutures are still considered critical and are only used sporadically.


The aim of this retrospective study was to compare nylon sutures and skin staples for wound closure in foot and ankle surgeries with respect to complications and patient satisfaction.


A total of 61 patients underwent different operations in the fore-, mid-, and hindfoot areas, which were performed by a single surgeon. Twenty-nine patients received staple wound closures, while 32 patients received nylon suture closures using the Donati back-and-forth technique. Incision length, surgery time, in-patient stay, and wound complications were recorded. Furthermore, a patient survey using the verbal numeric rating scale (VNRS) for subjective pain and cosmetic results at the time of stitch removal (14 days) and after a 6-week follow-up was conducted.


A significant between-group difference was found for surgery time (p = .041) and VNRS for pain (p < .001), with better results seen for staple sutures. Four patients with staple sutures and five with nylon sutures experienced wound dehiscence 14 days postoperatively. However, all patients had completely healed wounds at their 6-week follow-up. No revisional surgeries were necessary.


The present results indicate that a skin staple wound closure is a considerable alternative to the nylon suture closure in foot and ankle surgeries. Nevertheless, further prospective randomized trials must cement these insights.

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Correspondence to D. Yao.

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Daniilidis, K., Stukenborg-Colsman, C., Ettinger, S. et al. Nylon sutures versus skin staples in foot and ankle surgery: is there a clinical difference?. Musculoskelet Surg 104, 163–169 (2020).

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