Long-term physical, mental, and functional consequences of abdominal decompression

J Trauma. 2004 Feb;56(2):237-41; discussion 241-2. doi: 10.1097/01.TA.0000109858.55483.86.


Background: The long-term physical, mental, and functional consequences of abdominal decompression for intra-abdominal hypertension are unknown.

Methods: Thirty patients in various stages of abdominal decompression and delayed fascial closure for massive incisional hernia completed the SF-36 Health Survey and answered questions regarding their employment and pregnancy status.

Results: Patients awaiting abdominal wall reconstruction demonstrated significantly decreased perceptions of physical, social, and emotional health (p < 0.05), whereas patients who had completed definitive fascial closure demonstrated physical and mental health scores equivalent to the U.S. general population. Ultimately, 78% of patients employed before decompression returned to work.

Conclusion: Abdominal decompression with skin grafting and delayed fascial closure initially decreases patient perception of physical, social, and emotional health, but subsequent abdominal wall reconstruction restores physical and mental health to that of the U.S. general population. Abdominal decompression does not prevent return to gainful employment and should not be considered a permanently disabling condition.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Compartment Syndromes / surgery
  • Decompression, Surgical*
  • Employment
  • Fasciotomy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hernia, Ventral / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Quality of Life