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This study reports the short- and long-term outcomes of laparostomy for intra-abdominal sepsis.Twenty-nine sequential patients with intra-abdominal sepsis treated with a laparostomy over 6 years were included.The median age of the patients was 51 years, postoperative intensive care unit stay was 8 days, postoperative length of hospital stay was 87 days and follow up was 2 years. The expected mortality of 25% was insignificantly different from the observed mortality of 33% (P = 0.35). Seven per cent of patients required percutaneous drainage of intra-abdominal collections. An enterocutaneous fistula developed in 31% of all patients and in 15% of those treated with vacuum dressings. Component-separation fascial reconstruction was successful and uncomplicated in 83% of recipients compared with 25% of mesh repairs.Laparostomy does not significantly reduce mortality from the expected rate and commits the patient to a prolonged recovery with a high risk of enterocutaneous fistulation. Component-separation fascial reconstruction has a better outcome than mesh repair.