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Wound length and corticosteroid administration as risk factors for surgical-site complications following cesarean section


Antonio De Vivo, Policlinico “G. Martino”, Department of Gynecological, Obstetrical Sciences and Reproductive Medicine, University Hospital, via Consolare Valeria 1, 98125, Messina-Italy. E-mail:


Objective. To evaluate the effect of some specific gestational factors and other known variables associated with poor wound healing in women who delivered by cesarean section. Design. Observational, prospective study. Setting. University Hospital of Messina. Population. A total of 212 consecutive pregnant women at term delivering by elective cesarean section. Methods. All data regarding demographic and gestational characteristics were collected at admission. The subcutaneous tissue depth was intra-operatively measured from the fascia to the skin surface, while the incision length was measured after skin closure. Main outcome measures. Onset of wound complications such as infection, seroma, hematoma, abscess or dehiscence > 1 cm. Results. Body mass index (BMI) at term [odd ratio (OR) 1.2, 95%CI 1.03–1.38; p = 0.01], wound length (OR 1.03, 95%CI 1.01–1.05; p < 0.001) and corticosteroid administration (OR 3.4, 95%CI 1.5–7.9; p = 0.004) were found to be correlated with wound complications. The receiver operating characteristics curve analysis suggested a cut-off of 31.1 for the BMI at term and 166 mm for the wound length with an OR of 2.28 (95%CI 1.18–4.39; p = 0.013) and 4.3 (95%CI 2.2–8.6; p < 0.001), respectively. The multivariate logistic regression model, applied to these variables and to corticosteroid administration, showed an independent correlation (at term BMI > 31.1: OR 2.04, 1.01–4.13, p = 0.047; wound length > 166 mm: OR 4.89, 2.36–10.14, p < 0.001; corticosteroid administration: OR 3.11, 1.38–6.95, p = 0.006). Conclusions. To avoid wound complications obstetricians should be careful in the administration of steroids before surgery, in the skin incision length that should be kept as short as possible and in carefully observing gestational BMI.