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Vacuum Assisted Closure® therapy in the treatment of mesh infection after hernia repair

The Surgeon
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1479-666x(09)80010-3
  • Hernia
  • Surgical Mesh
  • Infection
  • Vacuum-Assisted Closure
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy


Background: Mesh related infection after prosthetic abdominal wall hernia repair is a difficult clinical problem, particularly in an era of evolving microbial resistance. Commonly advocated treatment for such infection involves complete mesh excision which usually leaves a complicated weak wound. We report the use of VAC therapy for mesh infections that allows mesh preservation leaving a sound wound. Methods: From June 2002 to January 2007, four patients with mesh related infection after abdominal wall hernia repair were treated with VAC therapy. Patients' notes were reviewed to gather clinical details. Results: Mesh infection was evident after a variable period (day three to eight years) following hernia repair. Of the four patients, one had infection with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), while the bacteriological cultures from two confirmed Staphylococcus aureus in one and a mixture of Pseudomonas and enterococcus species in the other. One patient failed to show significant bacterial growth on pus swab culture, having had prior broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment for mesh infection. Three patients had complete mesh preservation and one had partial mesh excision. All patients were treated with VAC therapy, following the drainage of their operation sites, until the visible mesh was covered with granulation (one to seven weeks). No patient had a recurrent hernia after complete wound healing. Conclusion: VAC therapy allows salvage of infected exposed mesh by promoting granulation through the mesh. Judicious use of VAC therapy may prevent the need of mesh excision and its wound related complications.

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