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Why Use Staples Instead of Stitches on a Wound?

By Shelley Moore ; Updated July 27, 2017

Stitches, also called sutures, are the traditional means for closing wounds, but physicians increasingly use staples instead. Surgical staples are placed with a stapling device into the wound edges. Staples have certain advantages over stitches.

Placement

To apply staples, a doctor or assistant aligns the wound edges and holds them together with forceps or fingers. He or another practitioner then holds the stapling device against the wound and presses the trigger on the device, placing staples into the skin.

Speed

Staples are faster to place than stitches, decreasing the chance of infection. Doctors also prefer them for large wounds that require a long time to suture.

Less Penetration

Stapling also involves minimal skin penetration when compared to stitches, another reason infection is less likely with staples.

Material

Staples are made of stainless steel, which is less likely to cause negative skin reactions than suturing materials.

Advantage of Stitches

The primary advantage of stitches is they tend to cause less scarring. Doctors are more inclined to use them on the face and other areas where scarring would be a significant issue.

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