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1.  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
2.  Tibiofibular syndesmosis in acute ankle fractures: additional value of an oblique MR image plane 
Skeletal Radiology  2011;41(2):193-202.
Objective
To evaluate the additional value of a 45° oblique MRI scan plane for assessing the anterior and posterior distal tibiofibular syndesmotic ligaments in patients with an acute ankle fracture.
Materials and methods
Prospectively, data were collected for 44 consecutive patients with an acute ankle fracture who underwent a radiograph (AP, lateral, and mortise view) as well as an MRI in both the standard three orthogonal planes and in an additional 45° oblique plane. The fractures on the radiographs were classified according to Lauge-Hansen (LH). The anterior (ATIFL) and posterior (PTIFL) distal tibiofibular ligaments, as well as the presence of a bony avulsion in both the axial and oblique planes was evaluated on MRI. MRI findings regarding syndesmotic injury in the axial and oblique planes were compared to syndesmotic injury predicted by LH. Kappa and the agreement score were calculated to determine the interobserver agreement. The Wilcoxon signed rank test and McNemar’s test were used to compare the two scan planes.
Results
The interobserver agreement (κ) and agreement score [AS (%)] regarding injury of the ATIFL and PTIFL and the presence of a fibular or tibial avulsion fracture were good to excellent in both the axial and oblique image planes (κ 0.61–0.92, AS 84–95%). For both ligaments the oblique image plane indicated significantly less injury than the axial plane (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in detection of an avulsion fracture in the axial or oblique plane, neither anteriorly (p = 0.50) nor posteriorly (p = 1.00). With syndesmotic injury as predicted by LH as comparison, the specificity in the oblique MR plane increased for both anterior (to 86% from 7%) and posterior (to 86% from 48%) syndesmotic injury when compared to the axial plane.
Conclusion
Our results show the additional value of an 45° oblique MR image plane for detection of injury of the anterior and posterior distal tibiofibular syndesmoses in acute ankle fractures. Findings of syndesmotic injury in the oblique MRI plane were closer to the diagnosis as assumed by the Lauge-Hansen classification than in the axial plane. With more accurate information, the surgeon can better decide when to stabilize syndesmotic injury in acute ankle fractures.
doi:10.1007/s00256-011-1179-2
PMCID: PMC3244606  PMID: 21533651
Ankle; Fracture; Ligament; Tibiofibular syndesmosis; Radiography; MRI
3.  The additional value of an oblique image plane for MRI of the anterior and posterior distal tibiofibular syndesmosis 
Skeletal Radiology  2010;40(1):75-83.
Objective
The optimal MRI scan planes of collateral ligaments of the ankle have been described extensively, with the exception of the syndesmotic ligaments. We assessed the optimal scan plane for depicting the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis.
Materials and Methods
In order to determine the optimal oblique caudal-cranial and lateral-medial MRI scan plane, two fresh frozen cadaveric ankles were used. The angle of the scan plane that demonstrated the anterior and posterior distal tibiofibular ligament uninterrupted in their full length was determined. In a prospective study this oblique scan plane was then used in addition to the axial and coronal planes, for MRI scans of both ankles in 21 healthy volunteers. Two observers independently evaluated the anterior tibiofibular ligament (ATIFL) and posterior tibiofibular ligament (PTIFL) regarding the continuity of the individual fascicles, thickness and wavy contour of the ligaments in both the axial and the oblique plane. Kappa was calculated to determine the interobserver agreement. McNemar’s test was used to statistically quantify the significance of the two scan planes.
Results
In the axial plane the ATIFL was in 31% (13/42) partly and in 69% (29/42) completely discontinuous; in the oblique plane the ATIFL was continuous in 88% (37/42) and partly discontinuous in 12% (5/42). Compared with the axial plane, the oblique plane demonstrated significantly less discontinuity (p < 0.001), but not significantly less thickening (p = 1.00) or less wavy contour (p = 0.06) of the ATIFL. In the axial scan plane the PTIFL was continuous in 76% (32/42), partially discontinuous in 19% (8/42) and completely discontinuous in 5% (2/42); in the oblique plane the PTIFL was continuous in 100% (42/42). Compared with the axial plane, the oblique plane demonstrated significantly less discontinuity (p = 0.002), but not significantly less thickening (p = 1.00) or less wavy contour (p = 0.50) of the PTIFL. The interobserver agreement score and kappa (κ) regarding the continuity for the ATIFL in the axial and oblique planes was 91% (κ = 0.79) and 91% (κ = 0.55) respectively; for the PTIFL it was 86% (κ = 0.65) and 100% (κ = not defined).
Conclusion
The ATIFL and PTIFL are routinuely scanned in the orthogonal planes. The advantage of MRI scanning in an oblique image plane of about 45 degrees permits a better evaluation of the ligaments compared with the axial plane, particularly a better interpretation of ligament continuity, thickening and wavy contour. This may lead to a reduction in false-positive results, especially regarding partial or complete ligament ruptures. This can be of considerable aid in therapeutic management.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00256-010-0938-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users
doi:10.1007/s00256-010-0938-9
PMCID: PMC2989003  PMID: 20549205
Ankle; MRI; Oblique scan; Tibiofibular syndesmosis

Results 1-3 (3)