Applying a stent bandage–a thick, non-adhesive bandage attached by sutures over the incision line–following colic surgery in the horse can dramatically decrease the risk of incisional infection said Aziz Tnibar, DVM, PhD, DECVS of the Department of Large Animal Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Speaking at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Dec 1-5, 2012 in Anaheim, Calif., Tnibar presented findings of a comparative retrospective study evaluating the effects of stent bandage placement following colic surgery in the horse.

Tnibar and his colleagues found that horses with stent bandages placed prior to anesthetic recovery were more than eight times less likely to develop infections of the incision than were horses without stent bandages.

135 horses that had undergone abdominal surgery via a ventral midline approach and that had survived more than 10 days post-surgery were included in the study. Horses were assigned to one of two groups based on whether a stent bandage had been placed following surgery. Bandages were left in place for as many as five days with daily disinfection of the stent sutures, then followed by a flat belly band.

Surgeons were randomly distributed across the two groups, so the effect of the surgeon on post-operative infection was thought to be negligible for this study. Outcomes were assessed on the basis of "infected" or "non-infected." Tnibar reported a 2.7% infection rate in the stent group vs. a 21.8% infection rate in the non-stent group. These numbers vary slightly from the published abstract of the study which reports a 4% infection ra