We evaluated prospectively a technique of delayed reclosure of disrupted abdominal incisions. Forty-one consecutive postoperative obstetric and gynecologic patients with abdominal incisions that had opened because of infection, hematoma, or seroma and had intact fascia participated in the study. All wounds were first managed identically, with surgical drainage and debridement, for a minimum of 4 days. The patients then were randomized to either wound reclosure by a standardized en bloc technique (35) or healing by second intention (six). Reclosure was successful in 30 of 35 cases (85.7%). The mean time to complete healing was 15.8 days in successful cases, 67.2 days in failed cases, and 23.2 days for all patients who were reclosed. Failure to heal after reclosure was due to subcutaneous infection in two patients and seroma in three; these women were significantly heavier than those in whom reclosure was successful. There were no other major complications of wound reclosure. Patients randomized to healing by second intention required a mean of 71.8 days of wound care. The time to complete healing in the wound-reclosure group was significantly shorter compared with the group that healed by second intention (P=.002, log rank test). We conclude that en bloc reclosure of disrupted surgical incisions, compared with nonsurgical treatment, significantly decreases the time required for wound healing and has minimal morbidity.
(C) 1990 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists