Background: Despite patient risk factors such as diabetes and obesity, contamination during surgery remains a significant cause of infections and subsequent wound morbidity. Pressurized pulse lavage (PPL) has been utilized as a method to reduce bacterial bioburden with promising results in many fields. Although existing methods of lavage have been utilized during abdominal operations, no studies have examined the use of PPL during complex hernia repair. Methods: Patients undergoing abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) in clean-contaminated or contaminated fields with antibiotic PPL, from January 2012 to May 2013, were prospectively evaluated. Primary outcome measures studied were conversion of retrorectus space culture from positive to negative after PPL and 30-day surgical site infection (SSI) rate. Results: A total of 56 patients underwent AWR, with 44 patients (78.6 %) having clean-contaminated fields and 12 patients (21.4 %) having contaminated ones. Twenty-two patients (39.3 %) had positive pre-PPL cultures, 18 of which (81.8 %) converted to negative cultures after PPL. Eleven patients (19.6 %) developed SSIs. Those with persistently positive cultures after PPL had the highest rate of SSI, where two out of four patients (50.0 %) developed an SSI. Contrastingly, only 5 of 18 patients (27.8 %) who converted from a positive to negative culture after PPL developed an SSI. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that antibiotic PPL is an effective method to reduce bacterial bioburden during AWR in clean-contaminated and contaminated fields. While complete conversion and eradication of SSI were not achieved, we believe that PPL may be a useful adjunct to standard operative asepsis in preventing prosthetic contamination during contaminated AWR.
- Abdominal wall reconstruction
- Pulse lavage
- Surgical site infection
- Ventral hernia repair