Aim: Surgical site infection (SSI) remains a common postoperative morbidity, particularly in colorectal resections, and poses a significant financial burden to the healthcare system. The omission of mechanical bowel preparation, as is performed in enhanced recovery after surgery programmes, appears to further increase the incidence. Various wound protection methods have been devised to reduce the incidence of SSIs. However, there are few randomized controlled trials assessing their efficacy. The aim of this study is to investigate whether ALEXIS wound retractors with reinforced O-rings are superior to conventional wound protection methods in preventing SSIs in colorectal resections.
Methodology: Patients undergoing elective open colorectal resections via a standardized midline laparotomy were prospectively randomized to either ALEXIS or conventional wound protection in a double-blinded manner. A sample size of 30 in each arm was determined to detect a reduction of SSI from 20% to 1% with a power of 80%. Secondary outcomes included postoperative pain. The operative wound was inspected daily by a specialist wound nurse during admission, and again 30 days postoperatively. Statistical analysis was performed using spss version 13 with P < 0.05 considered significant.
Results: Seventy-two patients were recruited into the study but eight were excluded. There were no SSIs in the ALEXIS study arm (n = 34) but six superficial incisional SSIs (20%) were diagnosed in the control arm (P = 0.006). Postoperative pain score analysis did not demonstrate any difference between the two groups (P = 0.664).
Conclusion: The ALEXIS wound retractor is more effective in preventing SSI in elective colorectal resections compared with conventional methods.
© 2012 The Authors. Colorectal Disease © 2012 The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland.