To assess whether Pfannenstiel skin incision compared with vertical skin incision was associated with postcesarean delivery wound complications in morbidly obese women.
We assembled a retrospective cohort of patients with body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher who delivered by cesarean between July 2012 and May 2019. The primary outcome was a composite wound morbidity (until 42 days postpartum) including wound separation, infection, and dehiscence. Secondary outcomes included individual composite components plus select maternal and neonatal outcomes. Comparisons of demographics and outcomes were made by χ2 and t test. Logistic regression was performed. Subgroup analysis was performed according to location of vertical skin incision in relation to the umbilicus.
A total of 3,901 patients were included. To account for imbalances in demographics between exposure groups, vertical and Pfannenstiel skin incision patients were matched in a 1:4 fashion for age, BMI, smoking status, and diabetes. The frequency of wound morbidity was 13.2% overall. There was no difference in the primary outcome when comparing Pfannenstiel with vertical skin incision (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.5, 95% CI 0.8–2.8). Patients with a vertical skin incision were more likely to undergo vertical hysterotomy (aOR 138.7, 95% CI 46.9–410) and transfusion (aOR 5.4, 95% CI 1.8–16.5). When vertical skin incision was classified into supraumbilical and infraumbilical, and compared with Pfannenstiel skin incision, infraumbilical vertical skin incision was associated with increased wound morbidity (odds ratio [OR] 2.46, 95% CI 1.4–4.5) and wound infection (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.4–4.6) compared with Pfannenstiel. Both types of vertical skin incision were associated with increased odds of vertical hysterotomy and transfusion when compared with Pfannenstiel.
In morbidly obese women who underwent cesarean delivery, the frequency of postoperative wound morbidity was similar after Pfannenstiel and vertical skin incisions.