Study: C-section infection rates down with plastic wound retractor

Women who underwent cesarean section with the Alexis retractor had lower infection rates and less pain than women who had the procedure with a traditional metal retractor.

A study in Germany found a plastic sheath wound retractor reduced the rate of surgical site infections in cesarean sections compared to a metal, self-retaining retractor traditionally used in those procedures.

The prospective, randomized, controlled trial took place at the Charité University Hospital, Berlin, and pitted Applied Medical’s Alexis O C-Section Retractor against the traditional Collins metal retractor. These devices are used to protect the edges of the wound from contamination and infection.

Ninety-eight patients were treated using the Alexis retractor, while 100 were treated with the metal retractor. The Alexis group had a “significantly reduced” rate of surgical site infection of 1% compared to the 8% rate in metal retractor group, according to the study, which was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.


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The majority of patients in the Alexis group (81%) reported their pain level at 0 or 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, compared to 4% in the metal retractor group who reported the same, Applied Medical said in a statement Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pegs the rate of cesarean section births at 32% of all deliveries.

“The Alexis O C-Section Retractor has also decreased the need for strong, painful pressure to be exerted on the uterine fundus to deliver the baby. My cesarean section patients usually go home on post-op day #2 and the use of opiate medications by my patients has significantly decreased,” said Jamie Lipeles, M.D., of Marina Obstetrics and Gynecology, in the statement.

“This new data, showing the wide ranging benefits of using the Alexis O C-Section Retractor in patients requiring a cesarean delivery, demonstrates clear benefits for not only my patients, but their newborns as well,” Lipeles said.

In addition to its wound retractor, Applied Medical offers access systems for various types of surgery, including bariatric, colorectal and urological, as well as laparoscopic systems and clot-management catheters.

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