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Comparison of wound strength, histologic, and aesthetic outcomes after microsurgical versus conventional skin closure in a rat model.


The purpose of this study was to compare the healing, strength, and cosmetic outcome of linear incisions after repair with the naked eye, surgical loupes, or a surgical microscope. Two parallel incisions were made on the dorsal skin of Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 36) and the rats randomized into four groups. A single surgeon repaired the incisions using 5-0 poliglecaprone in a running subcuticular pattern using the naked eye (Group I), surgical loupes with 2.5× magnification (Group II), surgical microscope with 5-10× magnification (Group III), and 6-0 poliglecaprone with a surgical microscope (Group IV). Rats were sacrificed at 1, 3, and 6 weeks. At each time point, the tensile strength of each closure was assessed. Macroscopic outcomes were evaluated using the Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS) and histology assessed by a blinded observer. Microscope closure took significantly longer than closure with the naked eye (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in tensile strength or VSS ratings between the closure methods at any of the time points. On histopathologic analysis, there were a greater number of inflammatory cells and fibroblasts in the 6-0 microscope closure group versus the naked eye closure group at week 3 (p ≤ 0.05). In conclusion, wound repair under magnification did not yield a significant difference in cosmesis or wound tensile strength, but did increase operative time. Moreover, there was a trend toward increased inflammation with microscope-assisted closures, perhaps due to the increased suture burden.

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