The utility of midtrimester ultrasound assessment of the subcutaneous space in predicting cesarean wound complications

Scott A. Shainker, Nandini Raghuraman, Anna M. Modest, William T. Schnettler, Michele R. Hacker, Steven J. Ralston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the association between cesarean wound complications and thickness of the subcutaneous space within the anterior abdomen at the midtrimester fetal anatomical survey. Methods: In this case-control study, cases were identified using an ICD9 code for wound complications of cesarean delivery. For each case, we identified the woman with the next consecutive midtrimester ultrasound who had a cesarean delivery without a wound complication, matched on age and race, as the control. A blinded investigator measured subcutaneous space at three distinct suprapubic levels in the midsagital plane. Results: Of 7228 women with a cesarean delivery, 123 (1.7%) had a wound complication. Seventy-nine cases were eligible. Midline suprapubic subcutaneous thickness did not differ between cases and controls at the superior, middle or inferior locations (p ≥ 0.35). Body mass index was moderately correlated with ultrasound-derived measurements (r ≥ 0.63; p < 0.001). The incidence of vertical skin incision, stapled skin closure and classical hysterotomy differed between groups (p ≤ 0.046). There was no significant increase in wound complication risk with increasing subcutaneous space thickness, even after adjustment (p ≥ 0.34). Conclusion: Prenatal ultrasound can quantify the subcutaneous space. Vertical skin incision, stapled wound closure, and a classical hysterotomy were associated with cesarean wound complication, but midtrimester subcutaneous thickness was not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1766-1769
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 13 2015


  • Abdominal wall thickness
  • cesarean wound complication
  • ltrasound prediction
  • second trimester ultrasound
  • wound risk factors


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