Background: Postoperative wound infection is a significant risk factor for recurrence after ventral hernia repair (VHR). The current study examines patient- and procedure-specific variables associated with wound infection. Methods: A cohort of subjects undergoing VHR from 13 regional Veterans Health Administration (VHA) sites was identified. Patient-specific risk variables were obtained from National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) data. Operative variables were obtained from physician-abstracted operative notes. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to model predictors of postoperative wound infection. Results: A total of 1505 VHR cases were used for analysis; wound infection occurred in 5% (n = 74). Best-fit logistic regression models demonstrated that steroid use, smoking, prolonged operative time, and use of absorbable mesh, acting as a surrogate marker for a more complex procedure, were significant independent predictors of wound infection. Conclusion: Permanent mesh placement was not associated with postoperative wound infection. Smoking was the only modifiable risk factor and preoperative smoking cessation may improve surgical outcomes in VHR. © 2005 Excerpta Medica Inc. All rights reserved.
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