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A guide to removing surgical staples

18 April 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 8


This article provides a comprehensive overview of the wound healing process, emphasising the critical role of surgical staples in primary intention healing. It outlines the four distinct phases of wound healing including haemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation – and discusses the mechanisms by which surgical staples enhance this natural biological process. Special focus is given to the aseptic non-touch technique (ANTT), which is crucial in preventing infections during the staple removal procedure. The article further explores the procedural steps involved in the removal of surgical staples and highlights the holistic aspects of patient care that need to be considered. This includes strategies for effective pain management, ensuring informed consent, and maintaining a sterile environment. By integrating clinical skills with a thorough understanding of wound care, this article aims to improve nursing practices in surgical settings, promoting better patient outcomes and recovery.

Wound healing is the process by which the body replaces and restores damaged tissue (Greaves et al, 2013) and enhanced mechanisms such as regeneration and tissue repair are initiated to help the healing process. It is a normal biological process that follows precisely programmed and highly regulated phases (Wallace et al, 2023). Wound healing is generally described as having four distinct phases: homeostasis, the defensive and inflammatory phase, the proliferative phase, and finally the maturation phase (Peate and Stephens, 2020). These phases are collectively referred to as the healing cascade and work together to promote the healing of wounds (Figure 1). For a wound to heal effectively all four phases must occur in the proper sequence and time frame (Coloplast, 2023). However, as the healing process involves a complex interaction of physical, chemical and cellular events, a multitude of factors can interfere with one or more phases of the process, leading to improper or impaired wound healing.

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