A Novel Closure Technique for Complex Abdominal Wounds

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INTRODUCTION:Abdominal wound closure is a challenge in patients undergoing colorectal surgery with a complex history of multiple abdominopelvic operations. Loss of domain of the abdominal fascia because of prior laparotomies precludes the use of simple, everyday abdominal wound closure techniques. Furthermore, ongoing intra-abdominal sepsis, with or without a concurrent entero- or colocutaneous fistula, increases the risk of postoperative morbidity and mortality in this patient population. We propose an abdominal wound closure technique for patients with multiple previous complex operations and subsequent ongoing abdominopelvic sepsis.TECHNIQUE:Following completion of the intra-abdominal component of the operation, the abdominal wall fascial edges are identified and mobilized to allow for a smooth skin closure. The skin is brought together with a small amount of subcutaneous tissue in the abdominal wound line and sutured with a 1.0 Prolene stitch by using the vertical mattress technique. For both wound edges, a dental roll is inserted between the entry and exit points of the suture, with the suture material placed above and over the dental roll, and thus the dental roll is incorporated within the stitch when it is tied down. These stitches and dental rolls are placed along the length of the wound. No mesh is utilized, and the technique achieves skin closure with development of a subsequent ventral hernia.RESULTS:Good postoperative short-term and long-term overall outcomes were achieved in 14 patients who underwent complex abdominal wound closure. Two patients required further late operative intervention because of the incarceration of the known ventral hernia (at 34 and 120 months postoperatively).CONCLUSIONS:Complex abdominal wound closure in this setting is safe and feasible to achieve a healthy abdominal wall closure and enable healing by primary intention after colorectal surgery.

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