Negative pressure therapy for high-risk abdominal wall reconstruction incisions

Eric M. Pauli, David M. Krpata, Yuri W. Novitsky, Michael J. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: A high rate of surgical site infection (SSI) accompanies the repair of large ventral hernias in the presence of bacterial contamination. Recent clinical and laboratory studies suggest that negative-pressure therapy (NPT) applied to closed surgical incisions may reduce the risk of SSI in high-risk populations. We hypothesized that NPT would reduce the risk of SSI in patients undergoing the repair of contaminated ventral hernias. Methods: We reviewed retrospectively our prospectively collected database for patients undergoing repair of potentially contaminated and infected ventral hernias with or without NPT. All of the patients had primary wound closure. In the NPT group, a vacuum dressing was applied over the closed midline wound. The primary outcome measure was SSI at 30 d post-operatively. Results: We evaluated 119 patients (70 with a standard wound dressing (SWD) and 49 with NPT). The groups were similar in age, gender, body mass index (BMI), the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes mellitus (DM), and smoking; and the number of prior abdominal operations. The SWD group had a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score than did the NPT group (3.0 vs. 2.8; p=0.01). The two groups were similar in the sizes of their hernia defects and duration of surgery, and did not differ in their 30-d rates of SSI (25.8% SWD vs. 20.4% NPT; p=0.50) or in the distribution of major and minor SSIs (SWD: 6 major, 12 minor vs. NPT: 2 major, 8 minor; p=0.56). Factors associated with an increased risk of SSI included ASA score (p=0.02), BMI (p=0.05), defect area (p<0.01), DM (p=0.01), and duration of surgery, (p<0.01). Conclusions: This retrospective, non-randomized study found that NPT in the setting of a closed surgical incision after potentially contaminated or infected ventral hernia repair (VHR) did not reduce the incidence of SSI. Although prophylactic NPT has reduced wound morbidity in some surgical populations, it does not appear to offer the same reduction in wound morbidity in high-risk, contaminated, and potentially contaminated open VHR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-274
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Negative pressure therapy for high-risk abdominal wall reconstruction incisions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this