OBJECTIVE: Ventriculoperitoneal shunt implantation is a common procedure in general neurosurgery. The patient population is often fragile, ranging from elderly to pediatric patients, and avoidance of perioperative complication is of utmost importance. Abdominal catheter dislocation has been found to be a common cause for early shunt dysfunction and needs to be avoided by optimal visualization of the abdominal catheter insertion zone. Here, we introduce a self-holding wound retractor system Alexis® and demonstrate its use for abdominal shunt surgery in a series of patients.
METHODS: We explain the use of the Alexis® self-holding wound retractor during open ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery in a series of 16 patients operated at our institution.
RESULTS: The self-holding retractor consists of two polymer rings connected by a polymer membrane. The deep ring is easily placed on the internal fascia of the straight muscle and circular retraction is achieved by twisting the upper ring. Free hand working can then be performed by a single surgeon with good abdominal exposure. No case of abdominal dislocation or infection occurred in our series, although no properly powered statistical analysis can be performed regarding the sample size.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrate the Alexis® Wound Retractor, which is an easy tool for optimal visualization of the abdominal catheter insertion zone. We believe it can facilitate surgical practice of shunt surgery, especially in obese patients.