PURPOSE: 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.
METHODS: 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.
RESULTS: 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.
CONCLUSION: 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.