Various conditions like severe infections, postoperative complications, or injuries require the abdomen to be left open. This therapy can be life-saving, e.g., in cases of abdominal compartment syndrome. The major consequence, however, is retraction of the abdominal wall, which often makes delayed closure impossible. Our approach to the open abdomen, which holds the abdominal wall in tension and increases intra-abdominal volume, is simple but new.
In collaboration with a medical technology manufacturer, we developed Fasciotens®: an external device that keeps the abdominal fascia in a state of tension while also increasing abdominal volume. The high mortality associated with this clinical picture, up to 50%, should be substantially lowered by earlier closure. In addition, duration of treatment in the intensive care unit, and thus costs, are reduced.
Use of the Fasciotens retractor made abdominal closure significantly easier. In addition, undesirable side effects such as skin pressure damage from the device supports (despite markedly more difficult anatomic conditions for pigs vs. humans) have been excluded.
For the future, a unit is planned for use on neonatal abdomens for abdominal wall defects and on the back, primarily for optimization of treatment after spinal infection.