Skin closure with surgical staples in ankle fractures: a safe and reliable method

Gautham Prabhakar, Travis S. Bullock, Case W. Martin, James C. Ryan, John H. Cabot, Ahmed A. Makhani, Leah P. Griffin, Kush Shah, Boris A. Zelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the rates of surgical site complications of staple closure versus suture closure following open reduction and internal fixation of closed unstable ankle fractures. Methods: Between 2014 and 2016, a total of 545 patients with closed ankle fractures were treated at our level-1 trauma centre by means of open reduction and internal fixation. A total of 360 patients matched the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis of this study. This included 119 patients undergoing wound closure using sutures and 241 patients using surgical staples. The demographics, clinical data, and injury characteristics were recorded. The primary outcome measure was the adverse event of any type of surgical site complication. Results: The overall rate of patients with a surgical site complication was 15.6%. There was a trend towards a higher risk of surgical site complication in patients undergoing wound closure with sutures as compared with staples (20.2% versus 13.3%); however, this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.0897). The rate of superficial surgical site infection also trended higher in patients undergoing wound closure with sutures versus staples without demonstrating statistical significance (10.1% versus 5%, P = 0.0678). The rate of deep surgical site infection was similar in both groups. Conclusion: The use of metal staples remains controversial in the setting of orthopedic surgery, particularly involving the foot and ankle. The current study supports that metal staples are a safe and reliable option in the closure of traumatic ankle fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Ankle fracture
  • Closure
  • Infection
  • Staples
  • Sutures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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