Purpose: To establish whether the rates of surgical site infection (SSI) in gastrointestinal surgery are affected by the type of intra-abdominal suturing: sutureless, absorbable material (polyglactin: Vicryl), and silk. Methods: We conducted SSI surveillance prospectively at 25 hospitals. Results: The overall SSI rate was 14.4% (130/903). The SSI rates in the sutureless, Vicryl, and silk groups were 4.8, 14.8, and 16.4%, respectively, without significant differences among the groups. In colorectal surgery, the SSI rate in the Vicryl group was 13.9%, which was significantly lower than that of the silk group (22.4%; P = 0.034). The incidence of deeper SSIs in the Vicryl group, including deep incisional and organ/space SSIs, was significantly lower than that in the silk group (P = 0.04). The SSI rates did not differ among the suture types overall, in gastric surgery, or in appendectomy. Conclusion: Using intra-abdominal absorbable sutures instead of silk sutures may reduce the risk of SSI, but only in colorectal surgery.
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