Prophylactic negative pressure wound therapy in colorectal surgery. Effects on surgical site events: current status and call to action

Gianluca Pellino*, Guido Sciaudone, Francesco Selvaggi, Silvestro Canonico

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Surgical site events, including surgical site infections (SSI), represent a major problem in general surgery. SSI are responsible of nuisance for patients, and can lead to important complications and disability, often needing prolonged postoperative stay with specific treatment and recovery in Intensive Care Units. These justify the higher costs due to SSI. Despite the growing body of evidence concerning SSI in general surgery, literature dealing with SSI after colorectal surgery is scarce, reflecting in suboptimal perception of such a relevant issue by colorectal surgeons and health authorities in Italy, though colorectal surgery is associated with higher rates of SSI. The best strategy for reducing the impact of SSI on costs of care and patients quality of life would be the development of a preventive bundle, similar to that adopted in the US through the colorectal section of the National Surgery Quality Improvement Project of the American College of Surgeons (ACS-NSQIP). This policy has been showed to significantly reduce the rates of SSI. In this scenario, incisional negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is likely to play a pivotal role. We herein reviewed the literature to report on the current status of preventive NPWT on surgical wounds of patients undergoing colorectal procedures with primary wound closure, suggesting evidence-based measures to reduce the impact of SSI, and to contain the costs associated with conventional NPWT devices by means of newer available technologies. Some explicative real life cases are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalUpdates in Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2015


  • Colorectal surgery
  • Complication
  • Negative pressure wound therapy
  • Risk reduction
  • Surgical site infection


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