The etiology of wound disruption (dehiscence or evisceration) is not known, but postoperative complications such as peritonitis, pneumonia, and wound infections are frequently considered the direct cause. Inasmuch as the advent of the antibiotics has tended to decrease the number of these infections, one might suppose that this decrease would have a definite bearing on the relative incidence of evisceration after laparotomy.
In 1926 one of us (R. B. B.) published a study of the cases of evisceration which had occurred over a previous 10-year period at Michael Reese Hospital.1 It seemed of interest to restudy the problem in the light of the recent advances in surgery, the "wonder drugs" being among the chief thereof, to see if the relative incidence of evisceration had decreased.
In our first series, covering 1925-1934, we found that there were 32, or 0.43%, cases of evisceration or wound dehiscence after 7,500 major laparotomies.