A review published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has said that metal staples used to close wounds after joint surgery may be faster to use than stitches but are also more likely to cause infections.
Doctors at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in eastern England looked at the outcome of six trials in which either nylon stitches or staples were used to seal 683 wounds.
Staples were three times more likely to lead to infection in a superficial wound, and four times likelier after hip surgery.
Those was no significant difference between either technique when it came to the risk of inflammation, discharge or allergic reaction.
"The use of staples for closing hip or knee surgery wounds after orthopaedic procedures cannot be recommended," says the paper, calling for further trials to settle the question definitively.