Delayed primary closure in damage control laparotomy: the value of the Wittmann patch

Am Surg. 2007 Jan;73(1):10-2.


Damage control laparotomy has become an accepted practice in trauma surgery. A number of methods leading to delayed primary closure of the abdomen have been advocated; complications are recognized with all these methods. The approach to staged repair using the Wittmann patch (Star Surgical Inc., Burlington, WI) combines the advantages of planned relaparotomy and open management, while minimizing the rate of complications. The authors hypothesized that use of the Wittmann patch would lead to a high rate of delayed primary closure of the abdomen. The patch consists of two sheets sutured to the abdominal fascia, providing for temporary closure. Advancement of the patch and abdominal exploration can be done at bedside. When the fascial edges can be reapproximated without tension, abdominal closure is performed. Twenty-six patients underwent staged abdominal closure during the study period. All were initially managed with intravenous bag closure. Eighty-three per cent (20 of 24) went on to delayed primary closure of the abdomen, with a mean time of 13.1 days from patch placement to delayed primary closure. The rate of closure using the Wittmann patch is equivalent to other commonly used methods and should be considered when managing patients with abdominal compartment syndrome or severe abdominal trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Abdominal Injuries / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy / methods*
  • Male
  • Prosthesis Implantation / instrumentation*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh*
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing*