Preventive NPWT over closed incisions in general surgery: Does age matter?

Gianluca Pellino, Guido Sciaudone, Giuseppe Candilio, G. Serena De Fatico, Isabella Landino, Angela Della Corte, Raffaella Guerniero, Raffaella Benevento, Antonio Santoriello, Ferdinando Campitiello, Francesco Selvaggi, Silvestro Canonico*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Surgical site events (SSE), including surgical wound complications and surgical site infections, are a major concern in patients undergoing general surgery operations. These increase the costs of care, and can lead to prolonged hospital stay and need for further treatments, ultimately resulting in poor quality of life. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has been recently reported as a preventive strategy to avoid SSE, but little is known on the topic, and particularly in geriatric population. Our primary aim was to assess the efficacy of NPWT by means of a pocket device (PICO, Smith & Nephew, London, UK) in preventing SSE compared with conventional dressings in patients undergoing surgery with primary wound closure for breast and for colorectal diseases in our Unit. Our secondary aims were to assess the efficacy and safety of PICO in elderly patients, and to seek for differences between breast and abdominal results. All consecutive patients undergoing breast and colorectal surgery in our Unit between September 2012 and May 2014 were prospectively enrolled in this open label controlled study. Breast patients receiving NPWT were assigned to group B1, those receiving conventional dressings were assigned to group B2. Colorectal patients were assigned to group C1 (NPWT) and C2 (conventional dressings) in similar fashion. Each group included 25 patients, and at least 10 (40%) patients aged over 65 years to allow sub-analyses. NPWT significantly reduced SSE in both breast and colorectal patients compared with controls. No significant differences were observed according to age. Similar benefits were observed in breast and colorectal patients. Our results suggest that PICO is an effective tool to prevent SSE in patients undergoing general surgery, irrespective of age. Its use is recommended in frail, elderly patients at risk of SSE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S64-S68
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Breast
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Complication
  • Negative pressure wound therapy
  • SSI
  • Surgical site event
  • Surgical site infection


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