Use of a vacuum-assisted device to facilitate abdominal closure

Am Surg. 2003 Dec;69(12):1030-4; discussion 1034-5.


The inability for abdominal closure in critically ill surgical patients provides a complex problem. Often, these patients are left with a large ventral hernia, which requires readmission for abdominal wall repair. We are reporting on the use of a vacuum-assisted device (VAD) to facilitate abdominal wall closure. Fifteen patients were enrolled for placement of a VAD. Selection was based on the diagnosis of abdominal compartment syndrome, the inability for abdominal closure at the initial operation, or the inability to close the abdomen upon re-exploration. Ten (67%) patients were successfully closed within 11 days using the VAD. Predictors of successful closure were the duration of VAD placement (< 12 days, P < 0.001), the total amount of VAD output (< 3 L, P < 0.04), the patient's cumulative fluid balance within the first 2 weeks (< 2 L, P < 0.002), or the presence of a systemic infection at the time of attempted closure (P < 0.001). After 6 months, there have been no complications in patients successfully closed with this device. There have been a few recent reports describing VAD abdominal closures. While not successful for every case, the majority of our patients were able to have their abdominal wall closed primarily. We plan to use this technique to help shorten hospital stay and prevent readmission for hernia repair.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / surgery*
  • Fasciotomy
  • Female
  • Hernia, Ventral / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy
  • Male
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Retrospective Studies