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Managing The Open Abdomen
  1. Mr N Haldipur, MBBS, Specialist Registrar in General Surgery1,
  2. Capt B Cooper, MBChB RAMC(V), Senior House Officer in Orthopaedics2 and
  3. Dr S Sanyal, MBBS MS, Senior House Officer in General Surgery2
  1. 1Chesterfield Royal Foundation NHS Trust, Calow, Chesterfield S44 5BL 01246 277271 Nandan.Haldipur{at}
  2. 2Chesterfield Royal Foundation NHSTrust, Calow, Chesterfield S44 5BL


The management of patients with an open abdomen is challenging. Control of intra-abdominal fluid secretion, facilitation of abdominal exploration and preservation of fascia for abdominal wall closure can test even the most experienced surgeon. Over the years various techniques have been tried to minimise complications and expedite closure with VAC® therapy (KCI Medical, Witney, Oxford UK) being the newest. This article provides an overview of the techniques available for the management of the open abdomen from towel clips to VAC®.

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