Plastic wound protectors do not affect wound infection rates following laparoscopic-assisted colectomy

K. W. Kercher, T. H. Nguyen, K. L. Harold, M. E. Poplin, B. D. Matthews, R. F. Sing, B. T. Heniford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Wound protectors are plastic sheaths that can be used to line a wound during surgery. Wound protectors can facilitate retraction of an incision without the need for other mechanical retractors and have been proposed as deterrents to wound infection. The purpose of this study was to define the ability of wound protectors to reduce the rate of infection when used in laparoscopic-assisted colectomy. Methods: We completed a retrospective review of the medical records of patients undergoing nonemergent laparoscopic-assisted colectomy between February 1999 and November 2002. All completely laparoscopic cases were excluded. The wound protector, when used, was applied to the extraction incision during the externalized portion of the procedure (colon and mesentery transection, anastomosis). Outcomes for patients with and without the use of a wound protector were compared. Results: A total of 141 patients underwent laparoscopic-assisted colectomy (98 for benign/malignant tumors, 35 for diverticular disease, and eight for Crohn's disease). There were no differences between the wound protector group (n = 84) and the no wound protector group (n = 57) with respect to mean age (55 vs 58 years), average body mass index (27 vs 29 kg/m2), gender, indication for surgery, comorbidities, antibiotics used, or mean operative time (185 vs 173 min). Nine patients in the wound protector group and eight in the no wound protector group developed a wound infection at the colon extraction site (p = 0.42). Patients undergoing resection for Crohn's disease or diverticulitis had a higher infection rate (18.6%) than patients undergoing resection for polyps or cancer (9.2%; p < 0.05). No wound recurrence of cancer was observed in either group at a mean follow-up of 23 months (range, 3-48). Conclusions: The wound protector, although useful for mechanical retraction of small wounds, does not significantly diminish the rate of wound infection at the bowel resection/anastomotic site. Patients undergoing elective resection for inflammatory processes have higher infection rates than patients undergoing laparoscopic-assisted colectomy for polyps or cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Laparascopic colectomy
  • Wound infection
  • Wound protector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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