The management of complex abdominal problems with the 'open abdomen' (OA) technique has become a routine procedure in surgery. The number of cases treated with an OA has increased dramatically because of the popularisation of damage control for life-threatening conditions, recognition and treatment of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome and new evidence regarding the management of severe intra-abdominal sepsis. Although OA has saved numerous lives and has addressed many problems related to the primary pathology, this technique is also associated with serious complications. New knowledge about the pathophysiology of the OA and the development of new technologies for temporary abdominal wall closure (e.g. ABThera™ Open Abdomen Negative Pressure Therapy; KCI USA Inc., San Antonio, TX) has helped improve the management and outcomes of these patients. This review will merge expert physician opinion with scientific evidence regarding the total management of the OA.
© 2012 The Author. International Wound Journal © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Medicalhelplines.com Inc.