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Five years' experience of transverse groin incision for femoral artery access in arterial reconstructive surgery: parallel observational longitudinal group comparison study.Beirne, Christopher; Martin, Fiachra; Hynes, Niamh; Sultan, Sherif; Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Western Vascular Institute, University College Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland. (Vascular, 2008-07)Vertical groin incisions (VGIs) have been used to access femoral vessels, but reports allude to wound complications. Our aim was to compare VGI with transverse groin incision (TGI) for femoral artery exposure. Over a 5-year interval, 196 patients with 284 femoral artery exposures for supra- and infrainguinal procedures were studied. Primary endpoints were surgical skin site wound infection, seroma, haematoma formation, and major lower limb amputation. Secondary endpoints were graft patency, wound paresthesias, and length of hospital stay. There were 160 TGIs and 124 VGIs. The demographics and risk factor profile were not statistically different between groups. Seroma developed in 4.4% of TGIs and 13.7% of VGIs (p= .005). The complicated skin and soft tissue infection rate was five times greater with VGI (p= .001). The VGI group had a significantly higher rate of major amputation (p= .0005). Significantly higher graft failure rates were observed in the VGI group (p= .011). No paresthesia was reported in any TGI wound. The mean hospital stay was also significantly shorter in the TGI group (p= .006). The study data support and expound on the theory that an alternative incision to VGI offers lower short- and long-term morbidity. Our findings sustain the selection of the TGI in femoral artery surgery for both supra- and infrainguinal procedures without compromise of vessel exposure.