Vacuum and mesh-mediated fascial traction for primary closure of the open abdomen in critically ill surgical patients


  • Presented to the Fifth World Congress on the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome, Orlando, Florida, USA, August 2011, and the Annual Meeting of the Finnish Surgical Society, Helsinki, Finland, November 2011



Several temporary abdominal closure techniques have been used in the management of open abdomen. Failure to achieve delayed primary fascial closure results in a large ventral hernia. This retrospective analysis evaluated whether the use of vacuum-assisted closure and mesh-mediated fascial traction (VACM) as temporary abdominal closure improved the delayed primary fascial closure rate compared with non-traction methods.


Patients treated with an open abdomen between 2004 and 2010 were analysed.


Among 50 patients treated with VACM and 54 using non-traction techniques (control group), the delayed primary fascial closure rate was 78 and 44 per cent respectively (P < 0·001); rates among those who survived to abdominal closure were 93 and 59 per cent respectively. Independent predictors of delayed primary fascial closure in multivariable logistic regression analysis were the use of VACM (odds ratio (OR) 4·43, 95 per cent confidence interval 1·64 to 11·99) and diagnosis other than peritonitis, severe acute pancreatitis or ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (OR 3·45, 1·07 to 11·04), which represented the main diagnoses. Prophylactic open abdomen was used to inhibit the development of intra-abdominal hypertension more frequently in the VACM group (28 versus 7 per cent; P = 0·008). Twelve per cent of patients in the VACM group developed an enteroatmospheric fistula compared with 19 per cent of control patients. Among survivors, three of 31 treated with VACM and 17 of 36 controls were left with a planned ventral hernia (P = 0·001).


The indication for open abdomen contributed to the probability of delayed primary fascial closure. VACM resulted in a higher fascial closure rate and lower planned hernia rate than methods that did not provide fascial traction. Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.