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A Comparison of Dressing Techniques for Presurgical Closure of Myelomeningocele in the Neonate

Cartwright, Cathy C.; Igbaseimokumo, Usiakimi; Olsen, Steven

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 5 - p 217–220
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000461

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Myelomeningoceles are routinely closed surgically within 24 to 48 hours after birth; the defect and exposed placode must be protected from further damage from excoriation and contamination until surgery. PURPOSE: Two methods to keep the defect moist and clean are used at our large Midwestern children's hospital: the occlusive and the drip. There was no agreement between the neonatal and neurosurgical teams as to which technique was superior, hence the need for a formal evaluation. METHODS: A prospective, randomized trial was conducted to compare the ease of nursing care, cost of supplies, neonatal temperature, and moisture of the placode at the time of closure in neonates with a myelomeningocele. RESULTS: Nurses categorized the occlusive group as easy care (100%) compared with 60% for the drip group, although the difference was not statistically significant (P = .18). The mean temperatures of the 2 groups before surgery were identical (36.9°C) in both groups. The cost of the drip was 6 times higher than that of the occlusive technique. The placode was assessed as moist in all 13 cases (100%). CONCLUSION: The occlusive technique was easier to care for by all the nurses and was 6 times more cost effective. Both methods kept the placode moist and did not affect the temperature of the baby.

Usiakimi Igbaseimokumo, MBBS, FRCS(SN), FRCSC, FAANS, FACS, MD(Leeds), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX.

Steven, Olsen, MD, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Cathy C. Cartwright, MSN RN-BC PCNS FAAN, at She is Director of Advanced Practice Professional Development, Children's Mercy Kansas City, Kansas City, MO.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Online date: August 30, 2019

© 2019 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses