Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion in the review.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that compared absorbable versus nonabsorbable sutures were eligible for inclusion. Studies could be set in the emergency department, out-patient clinic or operating room. Studies that only evaluated suturing in deep tissues were excluded. The included studies compared various absorbable materials (plain catgut, polyglycolic acid, polydiaxone, polyglyactin 910 and polyglyconate) with various nonabsorbable suture materials (nylon, silk, polyethylene and prolene /polypropylene).
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients of any age undergoing suturing of traumatic lacerations and surgical wounds at any site were eligible for inclusion. Most of the included studies were in adults; other studies included only children, or both adults and children. Sutured wounds were located in various locations, including the head and neck, trunk, limbs and multiple sites.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that assessed any of the following outcomes were eligible for inclusion; cosmetic outcome, patient satisfaction, pain during the procedure, time for procedure, ease of procedure and complications. Studies that only assessed cosmetic outcomes had to use a validated cosmetic score and use blinded outcome assessment. Only data from wounds described by the authors as definitely infected were included. The included studies assessed cosmetic outcomes using the Wound Evaluation Score (WES) and the Cosmetic Visual Analog Score (CVAS) measures. Methods used to measure other outcomes were reported in a table.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
One reviewer searched biographical databases and the reference lists of selected studies.Two reviewers independently selected the studies and resolved any disagreements on inclusions through recourse to a third author.