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07.02.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2019

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery 4/2019

Blurring the boundary between open abdomen treatment and ventral hernia repair

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery > Ausgabe 4/2019
Samuel A. Käser, P. Brosi, P. A. Clavien, R. Vonlanthen
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Therapeutic approaches for septic open abdomen treatment remain a major challenge with many uncertainties. The most convincing method is vacuum-assisted wound closure with mesh-mediated fascia traction with a protective plastic sheet placed on the viscera. As this plastic sheet and the mesh must be removed before final fascial closure, such a technique only allows temporary abdominal closure. This retrospective study analyzes the results of a modification of this technique allowing final abdominal closure using an anti-adhesive permeable polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) mesh.


The outcome of all consecutive patients with septic open abdomen treatment at one academic surgical department from January 2013 to June 2015 was retrospectively analyzed.


Retrospectively, 57 severely ill consecutive patients with septic open abdomen treatment with a 30-day mortality of 26% and a 2-year mortality of 51% were included in the study. In 26 patients, no mesh was implanted; in 31 patients, mesh implantation was done at median third-look laparotomy, median 5 days postoperative. Re-laparotomies after mesh implantation (median n = 2) revealed anastomotic leakage in 16% but no new bowel fistula. In 40% of those patients who had mesh implantation, fascia closure was not achieved and the mesh was left in place in a bridging position avoiding planned ventral hernia.


The application of an anti-adhesive PVDF mesh for fascia traction in vacuum-assisted wound closure of septic open abdomen is novel, versatile, and seems to be safe. It offers the highly relevant possibility for provisional and final abdominal closure.

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