Use of the SpaceMaker balloon in sternal wound closure: Comparison with other techniques

D. J. Hauben*, O. Shulman, Y. Levi, J. Sulkes, A. Amir, R. Silfen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sternal wound infection is surgically treated by debridement of the infected sternum and closure of the defect with a muscular flap. These operations tend to be long, stressful, and time-consuming and to involve heavy blood loss. To facilitate wound closure, the SpaceMaker balloon was applied intraoperatively to expand the pectoralis major muscles anal enable tensionless closure with musculocutaneous flaps. The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness and feasibility of this technique with a variety of others described in the literature. The study population consisted of 40 consecutive patients with sternal wound infection following median sternotomy who were treated with the advancement flap, turnover flap, transposition flap, or SpaceMaker balloon-assisted advancement flap technique (n = 10 each). The balloon-assisted technique was associated with a shorter length of operation and fewer blood transfusions than the other methods. Furthermore, there was no need for reoperation and there were no cases of skin necrosis. In conclusion, closure with the SpaceMaker balloon-assisted bilateral pectoralis major musculocutaneous flap may serve as ah adjunctive measure in the treatment of sternal wound infection. This technique seems to have advantages over simple pectoralis major musculocutaneous advancement, particularly for midsternal wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1588
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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