Value of incisional negative pressure wound therapy in orthopaedic surgery

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Soft tissue and wound treatment after orthopaedic interventions (especially after trauma) is still an enormously challenging situation for every surgeon. Since development of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), new indications have been consistently added to the original field of application. Recently, NPWT has been applied directly over high-risk closed surgical incisions. Review of the literature indicates that this therapy has shown positive effects on incisions after total ankle replacement or calcaneal fractures, preventing haematoma and wound dehiscence. In those cases reduced swelling, decreased pain and healing time of the wound were seen. Additionally, NPWT applied on incisions after acetabular fractures showed a decreased rate of infection and wound healing problems compared with published infection rates. Even after total hip arthroplasty, incisional NPWT reduced incidence of postoperative seroma and improved wound healing. In patients with tibial plateau, pilon or calcaneus fractures requiring surgical stabilisation after blunt trauma, reduced risk of developing acute and chronic wound dehiscence and infection was observed when using incisional NPWT. To conclude, incisional NPWT can help to reduce risk of delayed wound healing and infection after severe trauma and orthopaedic interventions.

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