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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7590396, 5 pages
Research Article

A Comparison of Barbed Sutures and Standard Sutures with regard to Wound Cosmesis in Panniculectomy and Reduction Mammoplasty Patients

1Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA
2Department of Plastic Surgery, Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook, NY, USA

Received 8 August 2016; Revised 2 November 2016; Accepted 13 November 2016

Academic Editor: Nicolo Scuderi

Copyright © 2016 Kristen Aliano et al. 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.


Cosmesis is a vital concern for patients undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery. Many variations in wound closure are employed when attempting to minimize a surgical scar’s appearance. Barbed sutures are one potential method of achieving improved wound cosmesis and are more common in recent years. To determine if barbed sutures differ from nonbarbed in wound cosmesis, we conducted a single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial of 18 patients undergoing bilateral reduction mammoplasty or panniculectomy. Patients were their own controls, receiving barbed sutures on one side and standard sutures on the contralateral side. Surgical scars were evaluated postoperatively by patient preference self-assessment and an observer. Ten patients were evaluated at 3 months postoperatively, yielding a mean Stony Brook Scar Evaluation Scale (SBSES) rating of 4.4 for barbed suture and 3.5 for regular suture (). At 6 months, 8 patients performed self-assessment to determine their preference; 4 preferred the barbed sutures, 1 preferred the regular sutures, and 3 had no preference. Further research with larger sample sizes is needed to determine if barbed sutures convey any advantage over standard sutures in wound healing. However, our results suggest that barbed sutures are a reasonable alternative to standard sutures particularly with regard to wound cosmesis.