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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 27-31
Clinical Study

Abdominal Wound Problems After Hysterectomy With Electrocautery vs. Scalpel Subcutaneous Incision

1Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Anesthesia, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, TX, USA
2UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., G6.226, Dallas 75235-9032, TX, USA

Received 17 November 1992; Accepted 11 February 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between postoperative abdominal incision problems and opening subcutaneous tissues with electrocautery or scalpel. Women scheduled for elective abdominal hysterectomy who gave informed consent were randomly assigned to subcutaneous abdominal wall tissue incision by electrocautery or scalpel. Postoperative abdominal wound problem diagnoses included seroma, hematoma, infection, or dehiscence without identifiable etiology. Fifteen of 380 women (3.9%) developed a wound problem; six had scalpel and nine had electrosurgical subcutaneous incisions (P = 0.4). Thicker subcutaneous tissues (P = 0.04) and concurrent pelvic infection (P < 0.001) were significant risk factors for postoperative wound problems. Only two women (0.5%) developed an infection. We conclude that the method of subcutaneous tissue incision was unrelated to the development of postoperative abdominal incision problems in 380 women undergoing elective abdominal hysterectomy.