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Stent Bandage, Post-Colic Surgery



Infection of the abdominal wall incision is one of the more common complications following colic surgery. Anything that can be done to reduce the infection rate is therefore desirable.

A post-operative stent bandage is a sterile protective dressing sutured over the abdominal incision immediately after closure of the abdomen at surgery. There is no other practical way to secure a dressing here other than to suture it to the skin.

A stent bandage protects the abdominal incision and reduces post-operative infection rates by protecting the incision from contaminants during recovery. It may also reduce swelling and tension on the suture line.

Stent bandages are often only left over the surgical incision for 1-3 days, and then removed.

We have had very good success using stent bandages in our practice. We feel that it has reduced our rate of incisional problems in our colic surgery patients. We use stent bandages in a variety of other situations where it is otherwise impossible to secure a bandage.

This Treatment Might be used for a horse exhibiting these signsRelated Observations

Consider Potential Side Effects & Complications

There are few complications or side effects of proper stent bandage placement. In some cases, bandages are damaged during recovery and must be removed or replaced.

Is It working? Timeframe for effect

If incisional infections occurs, it typically happens between 2 days and 2 weeks post-operatively.

Usually a patient develops a fever and worsened attitude and appetite, along with increasing swelling of the surgery site. Ultimately, drainage begins. Once the infection is open and draining, the horse usually feels better and fever disappears.

Unfortunately, drainage can last for weeks. In some cases, infection may weaken the structure of the repair and increase hernia formation. Lack of swelling or drainage usually indicates a properly healing abdominal incision.

Helpful terms & topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


Tnibar A, Grubbe Lin K, et al. Effect of a Stent Bandage on the Likelihood of Incisional Infection After Exploratory Celiotomy for Colic in Horses: A Comparative, Retrospective Study. AAEP Proceedings 2012;201:493.


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