Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Staples or sutures in children with scalp lacerations
  1. Kerstin Hogg, Clinical Research Fellow,
  2. Simon Carley, Specialist Registrar


    A short cut review was carried out to establish whether staples are better than sutures for scalp wound repair in children. Eight papers were found using the reported search, of which one presented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of this paper are tabulated. A clinical bottom line is stated.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    Report by Kerstin Hogg,Clinical Research FellowSearch checked by Simon Carley, Specialist Registrar

    Clinical scenario

    An 8 year old boy is brought to the emergency department by his parents, after tripping and hitting his head on the table edge. He has a 2 cm laceration over the occipital region. You examine the wound and wonder whether staples might be an easier alternative to sutures.

    Three part question

    In [children with scalp lacerations] are [staples better than sutures] for [ease of application and patient comfort]?

    Search strategy

    Medline 1966–04/02 using the OVID interface and Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2002. Medline:[(exp Sutures OR sutur$.mp OR exp Suture Techniques OR stitch$.mp) AND (exp Surgical Staplers OR exp Surgical Stapling OR stapl$.mp) AND (exp Scalp OR OR exp Craniocerebral Trauma OR OR head injur$.mp) AND (exp child OR exp adolescence OR exp child, abandoned OR exp child, exceptional OR exp child, hospitalized OR exp child, institutionalized OR exp child of impaired parents OR exp child, preschool OR exp child, unwanted OR exp disabled children OR exp homeless youth OR exp infant OR exp only child OR child$.mp OR exp pediatrics OR pediatric$.mp OR paediatric$.mp)]. Cochrane: SURGICAL-STAPLERS*:ME AND SUTURES*:ME AND CHILD*:ME

    Search outcome

    Medline: eight papers were found of which seven were irrelevant. The remaining paper was also found in Cochrane (three papers found, two irrelevant). The paper is shown in table 9.

    Table 9


    The evidence seems encouraging that staples are a cheaper, faster and effective way of closing scalp wounds in children, but larger studies are required to confirm this.


    Staples may turn out to be more effective at scalp wound closure in children, but further research is awaited.

    Report by Kerstin Hogg,Clinical Research FellowSearch checked by Simon Carley, Specialist Registrar