To close or not to close? Wound management in emergent colorectal surgery, an EAST Multicenter prospective cohort study

Document Type


Publication Date



Trauma & Acute Care Surgery

Journal Title

The journal of trauma and acute care surgery


BACKGROUND: To determine the clinical impact of wound management technique on surgical site infection (SSI), hospital length of stay (LOS) and mortality in emergent colorectal surgery. METHODS: A prospective observational study (2021-2023) of urgent or emergent colorectal surgery patients at 15 institutions was conducted. Pediatric patients and traumatic colorectal injuries were excluded. Patients were classified by wound closure technique: skin closed (SC), skin loosely closed (SLC), or skin open (SO). Primary outcomes were SSI, hospital LOS and in-hospital mortality rates. Multivariable regression was used to assess the effect of wound closure on outcomes after controlling for demographics, patient characteristics, ICU admission, vasopressor use, procedure details and wound class. A priori power analysis indicated that 138 patients per group were required to detect a 10% difference in mortality rates. RESULTS: In total, 557 patients were included (SC n = 262, SLC n = 124, SO n = 171). Statistically significant differences in BMI, race/ethnicity, ASA scores, EBL, ICU admission, vasopressor therapy, procedure details, and wound class were observed across groups (Table 1). Overall, average LOS was 16.9 ± 16.4 days, and rates of in-hospital mortality and SSI were 7.9% and 18.5%, respectively, with the lowest rates observed in the SC group (Table 2). After risk adjustment, SO was associated with increased risk of mortality (OR = 3.003, p = 0.028 in comparison to the SC group. SLC was associated with increased risk of superficial SSI (OR = 3.439, p = 0.014), after risk adjustment. CONCLUSION: When compared to the SC group, the SO group was associated with mortality, but comparable when considering all other outcomes, while the SLC was associated with increased superficial SSI. Complete skin closure may be a viable wound management technique in emergent colorectal surgery. STUDY TYPE: Level III Therapeutic/Care Management.