The AbThera Open Abdomen Dressing and a protective drape are used after a patient’s open abdomen surgery.
An Optimal Solution for Temporary Abdominal Closure (TAC)

Choose an evidence-based TAC system.


3M™ AbThera™ Open Abdomen Negative Pressure Therapy

Whether your patient has experienced a traumatic injury or requires sepsis management, the method of temporary abdominal closure you choose may play an important role in positive clinical and economic outcomes.¹

AbThera Therapy combines a proprietary foam dressing and drape with negative pressure therapy to manage the open abdomen. In two separate studies, AbThera Therapy demonstrated greater reduction in 30-day¹ and 90-day² all-cause mortality when compared to Barker's vacuum packing technique.

  • patient undergoing open abdomen surgery

    20-30% of open abdomen patients are not able to achieve primary fascial closure.³

    Patients in whom early definitive primary closure cannot be performed are more likely to experience:⁴

    • Infectious complications and sepsis
    • Increased ICU and hospital LOS
    • Increased duration (days) of mechanical ventilation
    • Acute kidney injury
    • Enteroatmospheric fistula (EAF)
    • Fascial retraction with loss of abdominal domain
    • Large incisional hernia
  • technology icon
    Patient-centered science designed to manage and protect

    AbThera Therapy helps to achieve primary fascial closure. Through our patient-centered science, we know that achieving fascial closure within 4–7 days of treatment is associated with lower mortality and fewer complications like sepsis, fistulas, and hernia.⁵

  • Mortality reduction icon
    AbThera Therapy demonstrated greater reduction in 30-day and 90-day all-cause mortality versus Barker’s vacuum pack technique (BVPT)

    In the first of two studies, when compared to Barker’s vacuum packing technique, AbThera Therapy demonstrated greater reduction in 30-day¹ and 90-day² all-cause mortality. A combined total of 325 patients received temporary abdominal closure (201 AbThera Therapy, 124 BVPT). 30-day all-cause mortality was 14% for AbThera Therapy and 30% for BVPT (p = 0.01).¹

    In the second study, 45 patients with abdominal injuries or intra-abdominal sepsis were randomly allocated to AbThera Therapy (n = 23) or Barker’s vacuum pack (n = 22). 90-day all-cause mortality was 21.7% for AbThera Therapy and 50% for BVPT (p = 0.04).² Primary endpoint to identify the difference in plasma concentration of interleukin-6 at 24- and 48-hours after application were not met.

    Read the full case study (page 6) and other case studies (PDF, 996 KB)

  • Cost saving icon
    Per-patient hospital charges averaged $160,275 lower with AbThera Therapy⁶

    In a 42-patient study analyzing resource utilization for patients receiving TAC, AbThera Therapy (n=30) was compared with BVPT (n=12). Information regarding complications and resource utilization was collected and analyzed.

    Results showed AbThera Therapy patients, on average, required fewer dressing changes than the BVPT group (2 versus 3, respectively; p=0.047).
    And, hospital charges were, on average, $454,081 in the BVPT group versus $293,806 (35% less) in the AbThera Therapy group (p=0.11).*

    *This calculation was based on comparative 30-day all-cause mortality rates reported in this study.

    View more information about this and other studies (PDF, 1.10 MB)

Dressings for AbThera Therapy

AbThera Therapy uses these specialized dressings with the 3M™ V.A.C.® Ulta Therapy Unit to actively remove fluid and help reduce edema in an open abdomen.

How does AbThera Therapy work?

AbThera Therapy incorporates all the functional elements of an optimal TAC device. The components form a synergized system designed for simplicity, ease of use and fast application.¹ Continuous negative pressure is transferred from the therapy unit to the perforated foam and to the encapsulated foam within the visceral protective layer. It can remove fluids from the abdominal cavity, draw fascial edges together, and protect abdominal contents from external contaminants.

An illustration shows how AbThera Therapy is used for temporary abdominal closure and how it can draw abdominal fascial edges together and remove fluids.
  • Actively removes fluid

    AbThera Therapy provides an active temporary abdominal closure system, designed to remove fluids, draw wound edges together and help to achieve primary fascial closure while protecting abdominal contents.⁷,¹

  • Provides separation and protection

    The 3M™ AbThera™ Fenestrated Visceral Protective Layer provides separation between the abdominal wall and viscera, and it protects abdominal contents. The 3M™ V.A.C.® Drape further isolates the bowel and other abdominal contents from the external environment.

  • Applies medial tension

    Perforated foam dressings collapse medially, drawing fascial edges closer together. The medial tension helps minimize fascial retraction and loss of domain.¹,³,

  • Designed for ease of use and fast applications

    AbThera Therapy allows for rapid access for re-entry and does not require sutures for placement. It gives you quick access to a patient’s abdomen to facilitate re-exploration or washouts.⁹

"More than 85% of open abdomens are actually for non-trauma patients and so all the benefits we see from using 3M™ AbThera™ Therapy in trauma patients, meaning protecting the viscera, easy access back in, quick look operations. Those spill over to the acute care or urgent surgery or emergent surgery patient just as well.”

Casey Thomas, DO, Critical Care and General Surgeon

Comparing TAC techniques⁴,¹⁰

Studies have shown that the use of AbThera Therapy may help prevent loss of abdominal domain and promote approximation of fascial edges toward the midline.⁴,¹⁰ AbThera Therapy uses our enhanced TAC technique to provide separation between the abdominal wall and viscera while protecting abdominal contents.¹⁰ These wound care advancements, coupled with other AbThera Therapy features, may increase the likelihood of fascial reapproximation and decrease risk of fistula development, which is a common complication in patients with exposed viscera.

Case study excerpt on abdominal fascial closure

  • Use of 3M™ AbThera™ Advance Open Abdomen Dressing for abdominal fascial closure

    A 24-year-old female presented to the Emergency Department with complaints of abdominal and back pain, dizziness and near syncopal episode but no nausea or vomiting. She was noted as afebrile, tachycardic (140 beats per minute [bpm]), and hypotensive (systolic blood pressure in the 60’s mmHg). On physical examination, she had left lower quadrant tenderness. A continuous wave, obstetrical Doppler ultrasound revealed an early intrauterine pregnancy (11-week gestation) and a fetal heart rate of 135 bpm. She had leukocytosis (18.9) and a neutrophil count of 84.

    Ringer’s lactate solution was administered intravenously for her hypotension, and she remained tachycardic (> 120 bpm). A Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) detected free fluid in the pelvis and right upper quadrant. The patient was anemic (hemoglobin = 6.8), which raised concern for intraabdominal bleeding of unknown origin and prompted a general surgery consult. An abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan revealed dilated loops of small bowel but diffuse thickness consistent with edema and a fluid-filled abdominopelvic cavity. Given her hemodynamic instability and CT scan, she was taken to the operating room (OR) for diagnostic laparoscopy to explain her clinical decompensation.

    The patient underwent diagnostic laparoscopy that was converted to an open exploration after scope insertion revealed bloody ascites and loops of necrotic small bowel. An internal hernia defect facilitated volvulization of the small bowel, which required intestinal detorsion and prompted a resection of 300 cm of ischemic small bowel. The bowel was left in discontinuity and AbThera Advance Dressing was placed within the open abdomen for temporary closure. On postoperative day 2, the patient returned to the OR for 3M™ AbThera™ Advance Open Abdomen Dressing removal; abdominal lavage; a stapled, jejunal-colonic, end-to-end anastomosis; appendectomy; placement of a nasoenteric tube and fascial closure. She was discharged on hospital day 7. In this case, AbThera Advance Dressing helped facilitate fascial closure and helped prevent abdominal retraction.

  • AbThera Advance Dressing placement after small bowel resection.

    A) AbThera Advance Dressing placement after small bowel resection (patient in supine position)
    B) AbThera Advance Dressing placement after small bowel resection.

    Patient data and photos courtesy of Marc R. Matthews, MD, MS, FACS, Associate Director, Arizona Burn Center, Director, Burn Emergency Services Director, Respiratory Care Services, Maricopa Medical Center.

  • Case study brochure

    NOTE: As with any case study, the results and outcomes should not be interpreted as a guarantee or warranty of similar results. Individual results may vary depending on the patient’s circumstances and condition.

    Read the full case study (PDF, 413.79 KB)

Still of medical expert speaking for a testimonial for AbThera Therapy

Hear what experts say about AbThera Therapy

This video features testimonies from Casey Thomas,
DO, Mark Kaplan, MD, and James Wyatt, MD
Duration: 2:59 min

Application and resource guides for AbThera Therapy

  • �� Text on screen: This video is intended for clinicians. Prior to use of the 3M"! V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy System, consult detailed product indications, safety information, and instructions contained in the V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy System Safety Information, V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy System User Manual, and 3M"! AbThera"! Open Abdomen Negative Pressure Therapy Dressing Application Instructions provided in the dressing cartons. The V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy System is an integrated wound management system that provides Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (3M"! V.A.C.� Therapy) with an instillation option (3M"! Veraflo"! Therapy). V.A.C.� Therapy in the absence of instillation is intended to create an environment that promotes wound healing by secondary or tertiary (delayed primary) intentions by preparing the wound bed for closures, reducing edema, promoting granulation tissue formation and perfusion, and by removing exudate and infectious material. Veraflo"! Therapy is indicated for patients who would benefit from vacuum assisted drainage and controlled delivery of topical wound treatment solutions and suspensions over the wound bed. The V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy System with and without instillation is indicated for patients with chronic, acute, traumatic, sub-acute and dehisced wounds, partial thickness burns, ulcers (such as diabetic, pressure and venous insufficiency), flaps and grafts. V.A.C.� Therapy in the absence of instillation may also be used for: The temporary bridging of abdominal wall openings where primary closure is not possible and/or repeat abdominal entries are necessary and for open abdominal wounds with exposed viscera including, but not limited to, abdominal compartment syndrome. The intended care setting is a closely monitored area within the acute care hospital, such as the ICU. The abdominal dressing will most often be applied in the operating theater. The management of the environment of surgical incisions that continue to drain following sutured or stapled closure by maintaining a closed environment and removing exudate via the application of negative pressure wound therapy. Additional safety information specific to the V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy System is available at the end of this video. Contact your local representative if you have any questions before initiating therapy. 3M"! AbThera"! Open Abdomen Negative Pressure Therapy provides temporary abdominal closure which helps you achieve primary fascial closure when managing a challenging open abdomen. Text on screen: 3M"! AbThera"! Open Abdomen Negative Pressure Therapy on 3M"! "! V.A.C.� � Ulta 4 Therapy System. AbThera"! Therapy. Temporary abdominal closure which helps you achieve primary fascial closure when managing a challenging open abdomen. Photo imagery of the AbThera"! Therapy components. Text on screen: Removes peritoneal fluid and helps to reduce edema. Provides medial tension, which helps minimize fascial retraction and loss of domain. Kubiak BD, Albert SP, Gatto LA et al. Peritoneal negative pressure therapy prevents multiple organ injury in a chronic porcine sepsis and ischemia/reperfusion model. Shock 2010;34:525-534. Cheatham ML, Demetriades D, Fabian TC et al. Prospective Study Examining Clinical Outcomes Associated with a Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System and Barker's Vacuum Packing Technique. World J Surg 2013;37:2018-2030. Frazee RC, Abernathy SW, Jupiter DC et al. Are commercial negative pressure systems worth the cost in open abdomen management? J Am Coll Surg 2013;216:730-733. Atema JJ, Gans SL, Boermeester MA. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Open Abdomen and Temporary Abdominal Closure Techniques in Non-trauma Patients. World J Surg 2015;39:912-925. AbThera"! Therapy is designed to manage the open abdomen by removing peritoneal fluid and helping to reduce edema, providing medial tension, which helps minimize fascial retraction and loss of domain. Text on screen: Initiate AbThera"! Therapy. The green AbThera"! Therapy button is highlighted on the main screen of the 3M"! V.A.C.� Ulta 4 Therapy Unit. Text on screen: Default settings. The Confirm Settings screen appears. The display shows therapy and target pressure options. Plus and minus buttons are highlighted to adjust the target pressure. The green OK button is highlighted and therapy begins. The SEAL CHECK Leak Detector screen appears. The green Exit button is highlighted. To initiate AbThera"! Therapy, press the green "AbThera"! Therapy" button. The confirm settings screen gives you an option for target pressure of 100 to 150 millimeters of mercury which you can adjust using the plus and minus signs. Once adjusted, press the green "okay" button to accept settings and begin AbThera"! Therapy. Press the "exit" button on the Seal Check Leak Detector screen to go to the active therapy home screen. The therapy home screen displays showing the therapy in session. Text on screen: Leak alert will not turn off the therapy unit. It's important to note that unlike other therapies, an AbThera"! Therapy leak alert will not turn off the VAC Ulta"! Therapy Unit. If the alert sounds, the unit will continue to apply negative pressure. j& 3M"! logo. Science. Applied to Life."! Instructions for Use and Safety Information: As with any device, it is important to read and understand the detailed instructions for use and safety information (including information on bleeding, exposed vessels and organs, and infection) applicable to your V.A.C.� Ulta Therapy Unit and dressing application that can be found with the therapy unit, disposables carton or at These sources provide information containing the proper application of all 3M"! Dressings. If you have product questions or require additional product training, please contact your local 3M"! representative. Additional product information can be found at This material is intended for healthcare professionals. Rx only. � 2021 3M"!. All rights reserved. 3M"! and the other marks shown are marks and/or registered marks. Unauthorized use prohibited. Used under license in Canada. PRA-PM-ALL-00563 (08/21). KCI part of 3M"!.

    Image of V.A.C> Ulta 4 Therapy unit displaying AbThera Therapy button in menu
    View how to use AbThera Therapy on the 3M™ V.A.C.® Ulta 4 Therapy System

    This video demonstrates how to use AbThera Therapy on the 3M™ V.A.C.® Ulta 4 Therapy System.

    Video 1:19 min

  • PDF, 1.1 MB

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See how our combination of products and technology can help you manage wound care the smart way.

Schedule your in-person or virtual demo today!


Explore additional 3M Negative Pressure Wound Therapies

  • 3M™ Prevena™ Incision Management System manages the environment of closed surgical incisions and removes fluid away from surgical incisions via the application of continuous negative pressure.

    Learn more about Prevena Therapy

  • 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy has been shown to be a successful way to manage wounds for the past 25 years.¹¹ It can be used to reduce hospitalization time and the risk of complications,¹¹,¹² which in turn helps facilitate patient transitions from inpatient to outpatient care settings.

    Learn more about V.A.C.® Therapy

  • Veraflo Therapy combines the benefits of NPWT with automated instillation and dwell of topical wound solution to provide simultaneous cleansing and granulation tissue formation.*¹³,¹⁴

    *Results have not been confirmed in human studies.

    Learn more about Veraflo Therapy

Looking for more information?

  • 3M is committed to providing customer service, including product reimbursement education and resources, to clinical providers and healthcare facilities that use qualified 3M products.

  • We are here to help! Get in touch with our customer support team for advice about our products and how to use them.

  • View our advanced wound product & NPWT product portfolio and browse our product catalog.

  • Find Instructions for Use (IFU) to easily access documents for specific 3M Health Care products.

  • NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product instructions for use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals. Rx only.


    1. Cheatham ML, et al. Prospective Study Examining Clinical Outcomes Associated with a Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System and Barker’s Vacuum Packing Technique. World Journal of Surgery. 2013 Sep;37(9):2018-30.

    2. Kirkpatrick AW, Roberts DJ, Faris PD et al. Active Negative Pressure Peritoneal Therapy After Abbreviated Laparotomy: The Intraperitoneal Vacuum Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Surg 2015;262(1):38-46.

    3. Atema JJ, Gans SL, Boermaster MA. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Open Abdomen and Temporary Abdominal Closure Techniques in Non-trauma Patients. World J Surg. 2015;39(4):912-925.

    4. Fitzpatrick ER. Open abdomen in trauma and critical care. Critical Care Nurse. 2017 Oct 1;37(5):22-45.

    5. Chen Y, Ye J, Song W, Chen J, Yuan Y, Ren J. Comparison of outcomes between early fascial closure and delayed abdominal closure in patients with open abdomen: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2014;2014:784056

    6. Safcsak K, Cheatham ML. ABTHERA™ Open Abdomen Negative Pressure System versus Barker’s Vacuum Pack Technique: analysis of resource utilization. Poster presented at the Fifth World Congress on the Abdominal Compartment, Orlando, FL. August 10-13, 2011.

    7. Schmidt M, Hall C, Mercer D, Kieswetter K. Novel foam design actively draws wound edges together under negative pressure: benchtop and pre-clinical assessment [abstract]Schmidt M, Hall C, Mercer D, Kieswetter K. Presented at the SAWC Fall 2018 Meeting, November 2-4, 2018, Las Vegas, Nevada 2018

    8. Frazee RC, Abernathy SW, Jupiter DC, et al. Are Commercial Negative Pressure Systems Worth the Cost in Open Abdomen Management? J Am Coll Surg. 2013 April 1;216(4):730-3

    9. Campbell A, Chang M, Fabian T et al. Management of the open abdomen: from initial operation to definitive closure. Am Surg 2009 November 1;75(11 Suppl):S1-S22.

    10. Huang Q, Li J, Lau WY. Techniques for Abdominal Wall Closure after Damage Control Laparotomy: From Temporary Abdominal Closure to Early/Delayed Fascial Closure-A Review. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2016;2016:2073260.

    11. Law A L Krebs B. Karnik B. Griffin L. Comparison of Healthcare Costs Associated With Patients Receiving Traditional Negative Pressure Wound Therapies in the Post Acute Setting. Cureus 12(11): e11790. DOI 10.7759/cureus.11790.

    12. Page JC, Newsander B, Schwenke DC, Hansen M, Ferguson J. Retrospective analysis of negative pressure wound therapy in open foot wounds with significant soft tissue defects. Adv Skin Wound Care/ 2004;17(7):354-364.

    13. Lessing C, Slack P, Hong KZ, Kilpadi D, McNulty A. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy With Controlled Saline Instillation (NPWTi): Dressing Properties and Granulation Response In Vivo. Wounds. 2011 Oct;23(10):309-19.

    14. Carroll C, Ingram S, Comparison of Topical Wound Solutions for Negative Pressure Wound Therapy with Instillation: Effect on Granulation in an Excisional Non-Infected Acute Porcine Wound Model, Poster Presentation at SAWC, Oct 2017.