Abdominal fascia closure following elective midline laparotomy: a surgical experience at a tertiary care hospital in Tanzania

Phillipo L Chalya, Anthony N Massinde, Albert Kihunrwa, Joseph B Mabula
BMC Research Notes 2015 June 30, 8: 281

BACKGROUND: The optimal strategy of abdominal wall closure after midline laparotomy has remained an issue of ongoing debate. This study was undertaken to describe our own experiences with abdominal fascial closure following elective midline laparotomy and compare with what is described in literature.

METHODS: This was a descriptive prospective study of patients who underwent elective midline laparotomy at Bugando Medical Centre between March 2009 and February 2014.

RESULTS: A total of 872 patients (M:F = 2.8:1) were studied. The median age was 38 years. The fascia closure was performed with a continuous and interrupted sutures in 804 (92.2%) and 68 (7.8%) patients, respectively. Mass closure and layered closure were performed in 842 (96.6%) and 30 (3.4%) patients, respectively. Monofilament sutures were applied for fascia closure in 366 (42.0%) patients, multifilament sutures in 506 (58.0%) patients. Non-absorbable sutures were chosen in 304 (34.9%) patients, slowly absorbable sutures in 506 (58.0%), and moderately absorbable sutures in 62 (7.1%) patients. Sutures used for fascial closure were vicryl 464 (53.2%), nylon 250 (28.7%), prolene 62 (7.1%), PDSII 54 (6.2%) and silk 42 (4.8%). Sutures with the strength of 0 were used in 214 (24.4%) patients, with strength of 1 in 524 (60.1%) patients, and with strength of 2 in 134 (15.4%) patients. The mean time required for massive closure of the midline incision was 8.20 ± 6.12 min whereas in layered closure, the mean time required for closure was 12.22 ± 7.11 min and this was statistically significant (p = 0.002). Mass closure was significantly associated with low incidence of wound dehiscence and incisional hernia (p < 0.001). Continuous suture was significantly associated with low incidence of wound dehiscence and incisional hernia as compared to interrupted suture (p < 0.001). Non-absorbable sutures were significantly associated with increased incidence of persistent wound pain and stitch sinus as compared to absorbable sutures (p < 0.001). The use of monofilament sutures was insignificantly associated with low incidence of surgical site infection as compared to multifilament sutures (p = 0.051). Prolene was significantly associated with persistent wound pain as compared to vicryl (p = 0.017).

CONCLUSION: Continuous mass closure with vicryl is commonly used for abdominal fascial closure following elective midline laparotomy in our setting and gives satisfactory results.

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