Negative pressure wound therapy for skin grafts and surgical wounds healing by primary intention

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There is no evidence for the effectiveness of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) on complete healing of wounds expected to heal by primary intention. There are clear cost benefits when non-commercial systems are used to create the negative pressure required for wound therapy, with no apparent reduction in clinical outcome. Pain levels are also rated lower when hospital systems are compared with their commercial counterparts. The high incidence of blisters occurring when NPWT is used following orthopaedic surgery suggests that the therapy should be limited until safety in this population is established.

Indications for the use of NPWT are broadening with a range of systems on the market, including those designed for use on clean, closed incisions and skin grafts. Earlier reviews concluded that the evidence for the effectiveness of NPWT was uncertain. This review assesses the effects of NPWT on surgical wounds (primary closure or skin grafting) that are expected to heal by primary intention.

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