Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is a promising advance in the management of closed surgical incisions. NPWT application induces several effects locally within the wound including reduced lateral tension and improving lymphatic drainage. As a result, NPWT may improve wound healing and reduce surgical site complications. We aim to evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic application of NPWT in preventing surgical site complications for closed incisions in breast surgery.
This systematic review was reported according to PRISMA guidelines. The protocol was published in PROSPERO (CRD42018114625). Medline, Embase, CINAHL and Cochrane Library databases were searched for studies which compare the efficacy of NPWT versus non-NPWT dressings for closed incisions in breast surgery. Specific outcomes of interest were total wound complications, surgical site infection (SSI), seroma, haematoma, wound dehiscence and necrosis.
Seven studies (1500 breast incisions in 904 patients) met the inclusion criteria. NPWT was associated with a significantly lower rate of total wound complications [odds ratio (OR) 0.36; 95% CI 0.19-069; P¿=¿0.002], SSI (OR 0.45; 95% CI 0.24-0.86; P¿=¿0.015), seroma (OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.13-0.59; P¿=¿0.001), wound dehiscence (OR 0.49; 95% CI 0.32-0.72; P¿<¿0.001) and wound necrosis (OR 0.38; 95% CI 0.19-0.78; P¿=¿0.008). There was no significant difference in haematoma rate (OR 0.8; 95% CI 0.19-3.2; P¿=¿0.75). Statistically significant heterogeneity existed for total wound complications, but no other outcomes.
Compared with conventional non-NPWT dressings, prophylactic application of NPWT is associated with significantly fewer surgical site complications including SSI, seroma, wound dehiscence and wound necrosis for closed breast incisions.