Background: Tape blisters after hip surgery can be a source of postoperative morbidity and can increase patient discomfort. The purpose of this prospective study was to compare two different types of tape to determine whether the type of tape influences the rate of blister formation.
Methods: Ninety-nine patients (100 hips) were enrolled in the study. Patients were randomized into one of two treatment groups: one treated with a nonstretchable silk tape and one treated with a perforated, stretchable cloth tape. After surgery, the assigned tape was applied over the postoperative dressing with care not to produce skin tension. At the first dressing change, the presence or absence of blisters was recorded as were the number, size, location, and type of any blisters. The presence or absence of tape blisters was recorded at the time of each subsequent dressing change.
Results: A tape blister developed on twenty-five hips in twenty-five patients. The risk of a blister developing was 41% (twenty of forty-nine patients) when the nonstretchable silk tape was used and 10% (five of fifty patients) when the perforated cloth tape was used (relative risk = 4.08, 95% confidence interval = 1.53 to 10.87, p = 0.005). We found no association between formation of tape blisters and the age or gender of the patient, number of medical comorbidities, smoking history, results of nutritional assessment, or type of surgery.
Conclusions: The prevalence of tape blisters was significantly lower when perforated cloth tape was used than it was when nonstretchable silk tape was used.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level I-1a (randomized controlled trial [significant difference]). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.