Background The set-back suture, an absorbable dermal suturing technique, purportedly improves wound eversion and cosmetic outcomes. Objective We sought to conduct a split-wound, prospective, randomized study to compare the cosmetic outcome and wound eversion achieved with the set-back suture and the buried vertical mattress suture (BVMS). Methods A total of 46 surgical elliptical wounds were randomized to subcuticular closure with the set-back suture on half and the BVMS on the other. Maximum eversion height and width were measured immediately postoperatively. At 3 months, 2 blinded observers evaluated each scar using a 7-point Likert physician global scar assessment scale. Subjects and observers also completed the validated Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale, where a score of 6 represents normal-appearing skin and 60 represents worst imaginable scar. Results In all, 42 subjects completed the study. The set-back suture provided statistically significant wound eversion. On the Likert scale, observers rated the set-back suture side 1 point better than the BVMS side. Both patient and observer total Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale scores were significantly lower for the set-back suture side (subject mean 13.0 ± 8.7 vs 16.2 ± 12.0 [P =.039]; observer mean 24.5 ± 10.4 vs 27.7 ± 13.6 [P =.028], respectively). Limitations Single institution experience and relatively short follow-up are limitations. Conclusion The set-back suture provides superior wound eversion and better cosmetic outcomes than the BVMS.
- cutaneous surgery
- Key words buried vertical mattress suture
- scar evaluation
- set-back suture
- subcuticular closure technique
- wound eversion
ASJC Scopus subject areas