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Prophylactic Negative Pressure Wound Therapy for Closed Laparotomy Incisions: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Ann Surg 2020 Jan;271(1):67-74



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85076977629 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   32 Citations


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine whether negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) applied to primarily closed incisions decreases surgical site infections (SSIs) following open abdominal surgery.

BACKGROUND: SSIs are a common cause of morbidity following open abdominal surgery. Prophylactic NPWT has shown promise for SSI reduction. However, the results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted among patients undergoing laparotomy have been inconsistent.

METHODS: We performed a meta-analysis of English language RCTs comparing the use of prophylactic NPWT to standard dressings on primarily closed laparotomy incisions following open abdominal surgery. Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases were searched from inception to December 31, 2018, for relevant studies. A random-effects model was used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: Five RCTs totaling 792 patients were included in our meta-analysis after application of our exclusion and inclusion criteria. There was no significant difference in the risk of SSIs identified among those patients who had NPWT compared to standard dressings; relative risk (RR) 0.56 (95% confidence interval 0.30-1.03, P = 0.064). There was significant statistical heterogeneity across studies (I = 67.4%; P = 0.015).

CONCLUSION: The adoption of NPWT for routine SSI prophylaxis following laparotomy is currently not supported and should be used primarily in the context of a clinical trial.

Author List

Kuper TM, Murphy PB, Kaur B, Ott MC


Patrick Murphy MD Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Surgical Wound Dehiscence
Surgical Wound Infection
Wound Healing