Study Supports Stent Use After Colic Surgery

Researchers found that antimicrobial-impregnated dressing could help reduce the incidence of surgical site infection.
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Study Supports Stent Use After Colic Surgery
Researchers know that applying a stent bandage—basically a rolled-up sterile towel sutured to the incision site immediately after surgery—reduces the risk of incisional complications. | Photo Credit: Aziz Tnibar
More horses are surviving colic surgery than ever. But with that trend inevitably come more postoperative complications, including incisional infections. These infections are a significant cause of illness—not to mention expense—after colic surgery, so University of California, Davis, (UC Davis) researchers recently tested how well different stent bandages prevent them, namely one made with an antimicrobial-impregnated dressing.

“It’s been suggested that environmental contamination of the incision either during or following recovery from anesthesia can play a major role in development of surgical site infection,” said Isabelle Kilcoyne, MVB, Dipl. ACVS, an equine surgeon at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She has assessed ways to reduce incisional infection risk in several studies and noted that risk factors range from having an incision longer than 27 centimeters to postoperative pain that causes horses to lie down more often. She presented results from the current study at the 12th International Equine Colic Research Symposium, held July 18-20 in Lexington, Kentucky.

KIlcoyne’s team had already determined that covering incisions with an abdominal bandage during anesthesia recovery helps prevent incisional infections. Further, they knew a stent bandage—basically a rolled-up sterile towel sutured to the incision site immediately after surgery—reduced the risk of incisional complications. But they hadn’t yet compared sterile towel stents to a simple adhesive drape cover and wanted to evaluate use of a stent bandage impregnated with 0.2% polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB).

“Polyhexamethylene biguanide has shown a pretty broad spectrum of action against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria,” she said. “It’s rapidly bactericidal at high concentrations and basically causes destruction of the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane, leading to precipitation of the cell contents

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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