Peer Reviewed




Background: The obstetrical department at University of Iowa implemented several interventions at reducing post-operative infections and wound complication rates following a cesarean delivery. We implemented subcuticular closure of the skin following all cesarean sections in February of 2011 and switched from a povidone/iodine skin prep to a chlorhexidine-alcohol prep April 19th 2011. Based on prior studies, we hypothesized a 50% reduction in post cesarean wound complications


To determine if changes in skin prep type and closure method decreases post-operative infectious morbidity and wound complications.


The study reviewed charts of women who underwent a cesarean section between 7/1/2010 and 12/31/2010 compared to those that underwent a cesarean section between 4/19/2011 and 9/7/2011. A total of 568 charts were reviewed. Women were divided into two groups; the control group included those who had a povidone/iodine skin prep and staple closure, the intervention group included those women who had chlorhexidine skin prep and skin closure with subcuticular suture.


A total of 568 charts were reviewed and 190 control (iodine/staples) subjects and 139 intervention (chlorhexidine-alcohol/suture) subjects were identified. We found no statistical difference in the overall wound complication rates between the control and intervention groups, 22.1% vs 17.4% (p.22). We did however find a significant decrease in wound separation rates: 8.4% vs 3% (p.014) Analysis showed significant risk factors for infectious morbidity and wound separation to be labor prior to surgery (p


In our population the implementation of a chlorhexidine skin prep and closure of the skin with a subcuticular suture did not decrease overall infectious morbidity, it did however decrease our wound separation rate.


Cesarean section, infection, wound separation, suture, staples

Total Pages


Financial Disclosure

The authors report no conflict of interest.


Copyright © Sara Tikkanen, Anna Button, Gideon Zamba, Abbey J. Hardy-Fairbanks, 2013.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.