An open abdomen is common used in critically ill patients to temporize permanent abdominal closure. The most common reason for leaving the abdomen open by reopening a laparotomy, not closing, or creating a fresh laparotomy is the abdominal compartment syndrome. The open abdomen technique is also used in damage control operations and intra-abdominal sepsis. Negative pressure wound therapy may be associated with better outcomes than other temporary abdominal closure techniques. The open abdomen is associated with many early and late complications, including infections, gastrointestinal fistulas, and ventral hernias. Clinicians should be vigilant regarding the development of these complications.