Management of the open abdomen in the setting of massive visceral swelling or extensive intra-abdominal abscess may pose an extremely difficult surgical scenario. We herein describe the technique and results of dynamic-retention sutures used in 13 patients with abdominal catastrophes after trauma, vascular reconstruction, tumor extirpation, and intra-abdominal infection. Three of these patients died during their acute care hospitalization. The remaining 10 patients were discharged to home with no resultant fistulas and 1 recurrent hernia (10%). Dynamic-retention sutures provide a useful technique for the closure of the complex surgical abdomen. We observed a low complication rate. In properly selected patients, this technique avoids the use of mesh or additional surgical procedures such as skin grafting or plastic surgical reconstruction of the abdominal wall.
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