Poster Presentation NZAPS and ANZSOPS Joint Scientific Meeting

What is the patient’s preference – continuous or interrupted sutures? (575)

Karissa Graham 1
  1. Gold Coast University Hospital, Labrador, QLD, Australia

Background:  Most surgeries require an incision in the skin, which is commonly closed to heal by primary intention. The choices for how the wound is closed are extensive and can affect patient outcomes. The use of a non-absorbable suture is commonly used in excision of skin lesion procedures. The use of a continuous suture saves time and suture material1,2 compared to interrupted sutures. Continuous sutures have also been shown to have a lower rate of superficial dehiscence than interrupted sutures3. The aim is to determine whether there is a patient preference for continuous or interrupted sutures.


Methods:  Forty participants who were having two or more simple skin excisions in the Head and Neck region were included in the study. Each participant would have one incision closed with a continuous non-absorbable suture and the other with an interrupted non-absorbable suture. The sutures were removed 7-13 days post-op and the participant was asked to rate their pain on removal of sutures. Participants were asked which suture method they preferred.


Results:  There was a significant increase in the reported pain for removal of continuous sutures compared to interrupted sutures (p = 0.0003). Fifteen (38%) participants preferred interrupted sutures, while 25 (62%) reported no preference for either suture method. No participants preferred continuous sutures.


Discussion:  There is an increased amount of pain reported for removal of continuous sutures over interrupted sutures, however, the majority of patients show no preference in which suture method they prefer. This should be taken into consideration, along with other factors, when choosing a method of wound closure.



  1. Richards PC, Balch CM, Aldrete JS, Abdominal wound closure. A randomized prospective study of 571 patients comparing continuous vs. interrupted suture technique. Ann Surg. 1983; 197: 238-43.
  2. Desarda MP, No-mesh inguinal hernia repair with continuous absorbable sutures: A dream or reality? (A study of 229 patients). Saudi J 2008; 14: 122-7.
  3. Gurusamy KS, Toon CD, Allen VB, Davidson BR, Continuous versus interrupted skin sutures for non-obstetric surgery. Cochrane Database Syst 2014; 14.