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Background: Obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIs) are the leading cause of anal incontinence in women. Episiotomies with a postdelivery suture angle of less than 30° to the midline are more likely to injure the anal sphincter directly, while those with a suture angle of more than 60° are associated with increased incidence of OASIs, as they do not relieve the pressure on the perineum. A safe zone of 40°–60° has been proposed. Recently, two new types of episiotomy scissors (Episcissors-60®Straight version and angled version) were introduced to ensure a standardized cutting angle of 60° to the midline. We audited our results with the angled Episcissors-60 in spontaneous vaginal deliveries.
Materials and methods: Consecutive patients delivering in two private maternity hospitals in Thane, India undergoing clinically indicated episiotomies were included. Only patients delivering spontaneously were included. The scissors were introduced vaginally at crowning, and aligned to orient the guide limb vertically from the posterior fourchette to the anus. While a single cut was preferred, a stagger cut was needed for some women. Postdelivery angles were measured by placing a protractor transparency on the perineum after delivery and marking the angle with an indelible ink pen. Per rectal examination was performed prior to suturing to detect OASIs.
Results: A total of 25 women underwent clinically indicated episiotomies. Of these, 16 women were nulliparous, eight women were para 1, and one woman was a para 2. One woman had a vaginal breech delivery (para 2), and the rest were cephalic vertex deliveries. The average age was 27 (range 20–35) years. The median birth weight was 2,800 g (standard deviation 312 g, interquartile range 2,500–3,000 g). The median postdelivery suture angle of the episiotomy was 50° (standard deviation 3.5°, interquartile range 48°–54°, range 45°–55°). No cases of OASI were detected in this series.
Conclusion: The Episcissors-60 angled version demonstrated a postdelivery suture angle of 50° in a cohort of Indian women undergoing spontaneous vaginal deliveries.
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