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Low Transverse versus Midline Abdominal Skin Incisions for in utero Spina Bifida Repair

  • Fishel Bartal, Michal
  • Bergh, Eric P.
  • Tsao, Kuojen
  • Austin, Mary T.
  • Moise, Kenneth J.
  • Fletcher, Stephen A.
  • Sibai, Baha M.
  • Papanna, Ramesha
Published Article
Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy
S. Karger AG
Publication Date
Feb 16, 2021
DOI: 10.1159/000512045
PMID: 33592609
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Objective: The 2 types of maternal skin incisions for in utero spina bifida repair are low transverse (LT) incision perceived to be cosmetic benefit and midline longitudinal (ML) incision, typically associated with a reduction in surgical time and lower blood loss. Our objective was to compare short- and long-term outcomes associated with these 2 types of skin incisions following in utero spina bifida repair. Methods: Prospective observational cohort of 72 patients undergoing fetal spina bifida repair at a single institution between September 2011 and August 2018. The decision for the type of incision was at the discretion of the surgeons. The primary outcome was total operative time. Secondary outcomes included an analog scale of wound pain score on postoperative day 3, duration of postoperative stay, and postoperative wound complications within the first 4 weeks. The Patient Scar Assessment Questionnaire, a validated questionnaire, was obtained for all patients (≥6 months from delivery) using 4 categories (appearance, consciousness, satisfaction with appearance and with symptoms), with higher scores reflecting a poorer perception of the scar. Results: There were 43 women (59.7%) in the LT group and 29 (40.3%) in the ML group. In all patients, the same incision was used during cesarean delivery. The total operative time was higher in the LT group by 33 min (p < 0.001), primarily due to abdominal wall incision time (open and closure). No significant differences were found between the groups in pain score, length of postoperative stay, or the rate of wound complications. Fifty-three patients (73.6%) responded to the questionnaire, 36/43 from the LT group and 17/29 from the ML group. There was no difference in the scores of appearance, consciousness, and satisfaction with appearance and symptoms between the groups. Conclusion: ML incisions shorten operative times without altering long-term incision-related satisfaction when compared to LT incisions.

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