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1.  Force Sensing in Surgical Sutures 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84466.
The tension in a suture is an important factor in the process of wound healing. If there is too much tension in the suture, the blood flow is restricted and necrosis can occur. If the tension is too low, the incision opens up and cannot heal properly. The purpose of this paper is to describe the design and evaluation of the Stitch Force (SF) sensor and the Hook-In Force (HIF) sensor. These sensors were developed to measure the force on a tensioned suture inside a closed incision and to measure the pulling force used to close the incision. The accuracy of both sensors is high enough to determine the relation between the force in the thread of a stitch and the pulling force applied on the suture by the physician. In a pilot study, a continuous suture of 7 stitches was applied on the fascia of the abdominal wall of multiple pigs to study this relationship. The results show that the max force in the thread of the second stitch drops from 3 (SD 1.2) to 1 (SD 0.3) newton after the 4th stitch was placed. During placement of the 5th, 6th and 7th stitch, the force in the 2nd stitch was not influenced anymore. This study indicates that in a continuous suture the force in the thread remains constant up to more than 3 stiches away from the pulled loose end of the suture. When a force feedback tool is developed specially for suturing in surgery on patients, the proposed sensors can be used to determine safety threshold for different types of tissue and sutures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084466
PMCID: PMC3871579  PMID: 24376812
2.  A multicenter randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of small stitches on the incidence of incisional hernia in midline incisions 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:20.
Background
The median laparotomy is frequently used by abdominal surgeons to gain rapid and wide access to the abdominal cavity with minimal damage to nerves, vascular structures and muscles of the abdominal wall. However, incisional hernia remains the most common complication after median laparotomy, with reported incidences varying between 2-20%. Recent clinical and experimental data showed a continuous suture technique with many small tissue bites in the aponeurosis only, is possibly more effective in the prevention of incisional hernia when compared to the common used large bite technique or mass closure.
Methods/Design
The STITCH trial is a double-blinded multicenter randomized controlled trial designed to compare a standardized large bite technique with a standardized small bites technique. The main objective is to compare both suture techniques for incidence of incisional hernia after one year. Secondary outcomes will include postoperative complications, direct costs, indirect costs and quality of life.
A total of 576 patients will be randomized between a standardized small bites or large bites technique. At least 10 departments of general surgery and two departments of oncological gynaecology will participate in this trial. Both techniques have a standardized amount of stitches per cm wound length and suture length wound length ratio's are calculated in each patient. Follow up will be at 1 month for wound infection and 1 year for incisional hernia. Ultrasound examinations will be performed at both time points to measure the distance between the rectus muscles (at 3 points) and to objectify presence or absence of incisional hernia. Patients, investigators and radiologists will be blinded during follow up, although the surgeon can not be blinded during the surgical procedure.
Conclusion
The STITCH trial will provide level 1b evidence to support the preference for either a continuous suture technique with many small tissue bites in the aponeurosis only or for the commonly used large bites technique.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01132209
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-20
PMCID: PMC3182877  PMID: 21871072

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