Background: Surgical energy has been widely implemented because of ease of use, effective hemostasis, and surgical dissection. Studies demonstrate its use to be an independent risk factor for postoperative wound infection. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the most common bacteria found in postoperative mesh infection. No reports are available on the sequelae of surgical energy use for open ventral hernia repair (oVHR) with mesh. We hypothesized that increasing amounts of surgical energy will result in higher infectious burden after oVHR with composite multifilament polyester mesh (Parietex™ PCO). Methods: New Zealand rabbits underwent bridging oVHR with Parietex™ PCO and were divided into three surgical treatment groups: (1) scalpel alone, (2) 120 J of energy, and (3) 600 J of energy. The bioprosthesis was then inoculated with 105 colony-forming units of MRSA. Rabbits were survived for 7 days with daily physical examination. Complete blood count, basci metabolic panel, and blood cultures were performed on postoperative days one, four, and seven. Surviving rabbits were killed, and meshes explanted for MRSA colony counts. Results: Rabbits receiving the most surgical energy developed signs and symptoms of severe sepsis and wound necrosis within 24 h. In comparison, rabbits receiving no surgical energy had significantly less MRSA recovered from explanted mesh, significantly less bacteremia, and fewer adhesions. Conclusions: Increased use of surgical energy promoted greater colonization, exaggerated septic response to bacterial contamination, and more severe adhesions. In the absence of devitalized tissue, rabbits can effectively limit bacterial contamination. These findings support the surgical principles of proper tissue handling and highlight the detrimental effects of indiscriminant surgical energy usage, thus emphasizing the importance of programs such as Fundamental Use of Surgical Energy.
- Surgical energy
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