SEVERAL years ago Norris1 stated, "the elimination of postoperative wound dehiscence is entirely within the jurisdiction of the operating surgeon," yet the occurrence of this surgical catastrophe remains uncomfortably constant. To say that this major complication of abdominal surgical treatment is shocking to the surgeon and the patient alike is a decided understatement.
The term "dehiscence," from the verb, "dehiscere," to gape, is graphic and descriptive. As used throughout this paper, it applies to that condition in which any portion of the contents of the peritoneal cavity is extruded from that cavity and presents itself in the operative wound. Within the past decade several excellent statistical studies2 of wound disruption, with purposeful discussions concerning corrective measures, have been made and are available in the literature.
INCIDENCE AND MORTALITY
The incidence of this surgical complication and its mortality rate have been rather uniform for the past fifteen years, as