Effects of electrocautery on midline laparotomy wound infection

Steven G. Kumagai, Raymundo F. Rosales, Glenn C. Hunter, William D. Rappaport, Donald B. Witzke, Thomas A. Chvapil, Milos Chvapil, John C. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This study compared the healing of midline fascial incisions made with either scalpel or electrocautery and inoculated with Escherichia coli in 57 Sprague-Dawley rats. At 7 days, tensile strength was significantly less when incisions were made with electrocautery than with a scalpel. Additionally, wound strength was inversely related to the concentration of the inoculum of E coli. The use of electrocautery was also associated with more frequent bacteremia at 48 hours and higher mortality at 7 days. Our results suggest that the technique used to incise the abdominal fascia influences subsequent wound healing, particularly in contaminated wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-623
Number of pages4
JournalThe American Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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