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Arch Surg. 1986 Jun;121(6):641-8.

Closure of abdominal incisions with subcutaneous catheters. A prospective randomized trial.


A preliminary report from our institution suggested that closure of abdominal incisions with subcutaneous, closed-suction catheters intermittently irrigated with antibiotic resulted in decreased wound infection rates. To test this hypothesis, a prospective, randomized, controlled trial was undertaken to compare the results of primary closure, subcutaneous catheter irrigated with saline or antibiotic, and subcutaneous catheter alone. During the two-year trial, 3,282 incisions (type II, III, or IV) were analyzed. Subcutaneous catheter placement alone or with antibiotic or saline irrigation was not superior to primary closure for type II or III incisions. A trend favoring subcutaneous catheter and antibiotic irrigation was observed for type IV incisions. This finding suggests that further clinical trials designed to assess the role of subcutaneous catheter placement and antibiotic irrigation in decreasing wound infection rates are warranted in type IV incisions.

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