Blunt needles may cause fewer surgical glove perforations during C/S

August 12, 2009

The use of blunt needles may be associated with fewer glove perforations during closure following cesarean delivery, but with lower physician satisfaction with the needles, according to research published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The use of blunt needles may be associated with fewer glove perforations during closure following cesarean delivery, but with lower physician satisfaction with the needles, according to research published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Scott Sullivan, MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues analyzed data from 194 patients undergoing cesarean deliveries who were randomly assigned to closure with blunt or sharp needles. Researchers collected gloves used by the surgeon and assistant and tested them for perforation by filling them with water and squeezing, assessing rates of glove perforation as a stand-in for needlestick injuries

The investigators found that glove perforations occurred at a significantly lower rate with blunt needles overall (RR, 0.66). Assistant surgeons had a lower risk of perforation with blunt needles (RR, 0.54), but the risk was not significantly reduced among the primary surgeons. Surgeons reported that they were less satisfied with the blunt needles, but roughly 92% rated them as “acceptable” or higher.

“The use of blunt needles is an effective technique to minimize the potential morbidity of accidental needlesticks to the health-care team. Blunt needles have mechanical advantages over sharp needles in the protection against needlestick injuries, including the requirement of much greater force to induce glove perforation than sharp needles, and are less likely to break the skin if glove perforation occurs,” the authors write.

Sullivan S, Williamson B, Wilson LK, et al. Blunt needles for the reduction of needlestick injuries during cesarean delivery: a randomized controlled trial.

Obstet Gynecol

. 2009;114:211-216.