From the Journals

Novel strategies may help curb bariatric SSI



“The BariWound tool can help to inform clinical decision making so patients can know they’re at higher risk, and this could allow for us to target high-risk patients with preventive packages, such as the Cleveland Clinic Technique of wound protection, wound irrigation, and wound packing as a resource-saving measure,” Dr. Dang said. “Targeting high-risk populations can reduce cost and operating time.”

Dr. Cynthia Weber Richard Kirkner/MDedge NEws

Dr. Cynthia Weber

Dr. Weber reported on her institution’s study of SSIs using two different methods for circular stapling of GJ that involved two different surgeons who performed 333 RYGB procedures from January 2016 to March 2018. Surgeon “A” had traditionally used the transoral technique without wound protection to insert the anvil of the stapler; surgeon “B” used wound protection and the transabdominal technique for stapler insertion. Wound protection involves draping of the stapler with sterile plastic.

“In a quarterly review, we detected a higher than expected wound complication rate of 6%,” Dr. Weber said. “Of particular concern was the development of five recent wound infection cases, which all occurred in the transoral group for a rate of 8.9% in that cohort.”

That left the quality team questioning the safety profile of the transoral technique, Dr. Weber said. “We wanted to know why and whether or not the main contributor to the development of a wound infection was the technique for the anvil introduction or was it the difference between surgeons using wound protection.”

Halfway through the study period, surgeon A made two modifications: He adopted the transabdominal technique for a subset of patients; and because of the surgeon’s comfort level and expertise with the transoral approach, he continued using that approach but added wound protection. Surgeon B continued with the transabdominal approach with wound protection. The share of transabdominal insertions in the study population increased from 69.2% before the change to 75% after. Demographics between the pre- and postchange patient populations were similar, as were the rates of revision surgery between the two groups.

“We noticed a significant reduction in total wound complications from 6% to 1.3%, and we noticed a complete elimination of surgical site infections after adding wound protection to the transoral technique,” Dr. Weber said.

Dr. Weber noted a number of limitations with the study: its retrospective nature; the lack of control for other intraoperative factors that contribute to SSIs; relatively low incidence of SSI; and surgeon’s choice to determine the technique of anvil insertion.

“We found that our quality improvement intervention was efficacious and decided that it was not the technique of anvil insertion, but it was the wound protection that was key to preventing wound infections, as we saw complete elimination after we added wound protection to the transoral technique,” Dr. Weber said. “Using proper precautions with the circular stapler and anastomosis can be done using either technique for anvil insertion. Overall self-assessment of outcomes leads to best practice.”

Dr. Dang had no financial relationships to disclose. Dr. Weber’s coauthor Leena Khatian, MD, MPH, disclosed relationships with Torax Medical, Medtronic, and Gore.

SOURCES: Weber C et al. SAGES 2109, Presentation S049; Dang J et al. SAGES 2019, Presentation S050.


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