Hair-sparing technique using absorbable intradermal barbed suture versus traditional closure methods in supratentorial craniotomies for tumor

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:719–727

Hair-sparing techniques in cranial neurosurgery have gained traction in recent years and previous studies have shown no difference in infection rates, yet limited data exists evaluating the specific closure techniques utilized during hairsparing craniotomies. Therefore, it was the intention of this study to evaluate the rate of surgical site infections (SSIs) and perioperative complications associated with using an absorbable intradermal barbed suture for skin closure in hair-sparing supratentorial craniotomies for tumor in order to prove non-inferiority to traditional methods.

Methods A retrospective review of supratentorial craniotomies for tumor by a single surgeon from 2011 to 2017 was performed. All perioperative adverse events and wound complications, defined as a postoperative infection, wound dehiscence, or CSF leak, were compared between three different groups: (1) hair shaving craniotomies + transdermal polypropylene suture/staples for scalp closure, (2) hair-sparing craniotomies + transdermal polypropylene suture/staples for scalp closure, and (3) hair-sparing craniotomies + absorbable intradermal barbed suture for scalp closure.

Results Two hundred sixty-three patients underwent hair shaving + transdermal polypropylene suture/staples, 83 underwent hair sparing + transdermal polypropylene suture/staples, and 100 underwent hair sparing + absorbable intradermal barbed suture. Overall, 2.9% of patients experienced a perioperative complication and 4.3% developed a wound complication. In multivariable analysis, the use of a barbed suture for scalp closure and hair-sparing techniques was not predictive of any complication or 30-day readmission. Furthermore, the absorbable intradermal barbed suture cohort had the lowest overall rate of wound complications (4%).

Conclusions Hair-sparing techniques using absorbable intradermal barbed suture for scalp closure are safe and do not result in higher rates of infection, readmission, or reoperation when compared with traditional methods.