22 January 2014

Evidence review shows positive results for Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) on surgical incisions

Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN, NYSE: SNN), the global medical technology business, announces today a review of 33 published papers that shows fewer wound healing complications in patients with closed surgical incisions after Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) is applied for three to five days post surgery. The journal Bone and Joint Research published the review, which was written by an international panel of experts on NPWT.  

“According to a consensus of the randomised studies, there is a strong argument for the preventative use of NPWT on high-risk, closed surgical incisions,” said  Prof. James Stannard,  Professor and Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute at the University of Missouri, a co-auther of the paper and the first surgeon ever to report the use of NPWT on closed incisions.

“Most surgeons are  familiar with the efficacy of NPWT on complex open wounds as that has become a standard of care,” said Prof. Stannard. “However, there is a growing awareness of the potential for incisional NPWT to reduce post surgical complications in high risk patients and the related costs involved.  We expect that the further development of lower cost, single use NPWT devices will catalyse additional studies.”

The most common surgical site complication is infection.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 300,000 surgical site infections (SSIs) occur every year in the United States, representing 17% of all healthcare associated infections. SSIs occur in an estimated 5% of in-patient surgical procedures and result in seven to 10 additional post-operative hospital days. (Berrios-Torres SI. Surgical Site Infection (SSI) Toolkit. Activity C: ELC Prevention Collaboratives. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); 2009. Available here.)   

Co-authored by six members of a panel of international experts on NPWT, the Bone and Joint Research paper examines research from 33 clinical publications investigating new technologies that can be applied to closed surgical incisions to help minimise complications. The panel conducted the review in orthopaedic and other surgical disciplines.

The paper’s co-authors are currently completing independent investigator initiated studies with PICO, Smith & Nephew’s single use NPWT system.

“Single use NPWT devices such as Smith & Nephew’s PICO mean that the lower cost of therapy can create many more opportunities for building clinical evidence in large randomised studies,” said Dr. Robin Martin, a co-author of the paper and Director of Clinical Sciences at Smith & Nephew. “For a future article, we plan to assess the evidence for identifying those patients at greatest risk of surgical site complications in orthopaedic procedures and review the guidelines to target certain patient groups with NPWT as a preventive technology.  We plan to examine the economic implications for such an approach as well.”

Bone and Joint Research is a UK-based peer reviewed journal that publishes papers across the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal sciences.



Beth Bentley
+1 727-399-3779
Smith & Nephew                                                                    


Phil Cowdy
+44 (0) 20 7401 7646
Smith & Nephew 

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Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business dedicated to helping improve people's lives. With leadership positions in Orthopaedic Reconstruction, Advanced Wound Management, Sports Medicine and Trauma, Smith & Nephew has around 11,000 employees and a presence in more than 90 countries. Annual sales in 2012 were more than $4.1 billion. Smith & Nephew is a member of the FTSE100 (LSE: SN, NYSE: SNN).

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