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Eplasty. 2013 Sep 20;13:e49. eCollection 2013.

Does the application of incisional negative pressure therapy to high-risk wounds prevent surgical site complications? A systematic review.

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University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, Newark, NJ.



The application of incisional negative pressure wound therapy (INPWT) to clean, closed surgical incisions is a growing clinical practice. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the effect of INPWT on surgical sites healing by primary intention. The primary outcomes of interest are incidence of complications (infection, dehiscence, seroma, hematoma, skin necrosis, or blistering).


Two independent reviewers performed a search of the Ovid MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from 2006 to 2012 for published articles. Supplemental searches were performed using reference lists and conference proceedings. Studies were selected for inclusion based on predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data extraction regarding study quality, demographic and clinical characteristics, and outcomes was performed independently, and data on the incidence of infection was combined using a fixed-effects meta-analysis model.


Ten (5 randomized controlled trials and 5 observational) studies were included, which investigated the outcomes of 626 incisions on 610 patients. Six studies compared INPWT with sterile dry dressings (SDDs). The literature shows a significant decrease in rates of infection when using INPWT. RESULTS on dehiscence do show a decrease in some studies, but results are inconsistent to make a conclusion. Because of limited studies, it is difficult to make any assertions on seroma, hematoma, and skin necrosis.


This systematic review shows possible evidence of a decrease in the incidence of infection with application of INPWT. Looking at other variables such as dehiscence, seroma, hematoma, and skin necrosis show no consistent data and suggest further studies in order for proper recommendations for INPWT.


INPWT; NPWT; incisional wound therapy; negative pressure wound therapy; surgical site complications; topical negative pressure

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