The use of silver nylon in preventing surgical site infections following colon and rectal surgery

Dis Colon Rectum. 2011 Aug;54(8):1014-9. doi: 10.1097/DCR.0b013e31821c495d.


Background: Patients who undergo colorectal surgery have up to a 30% chance of developing a surgical site infection postoperatively. Silverlon is a silver nylon dressing designed to prevent surgical site infections, but only anecdotal evidence has previously supported its efficacy.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of silver nylon dressings in patients undergoing colorectal surgery.

Design: We performed a prospective, randomized, controlled trial comparing a silver nylon dressing with gauze dressings in patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery.

Setting: The study was performed at a university-based, tertiary referral center.

Patients: We studied patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery with an abdominal skin incision of at least 3 cm.

Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either a silver nylon or a gauze dressing.

Main outcome measures: The primary end point was surgical site infection occurring within 30 days of surgery.

Results: One hundred ten patients were enrolled in the study and were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups. After a 30-day follow-up period, the incidence of surgical site infection was lower in the silver nylon group compared with the control group (13% vs 33%, P = .011). Twenty-five patients in the study developed superficial surgical site infections, 5 in the silver nylon group and 14 in the control group (P = .021). Two patients in the study group developed deep wound infections compared with 4 in the control group (P = .438). Multivariate analysis revealed that patients in the control group had a 3-fold increase in risk of infection compared with patients in the silver nylon group (P = .013).

Limitations: A limitation of this study is that the members of the surgical team were not blinded to the treatment groups.

Conclusion: Silver nylon is safe and effective in preventing surgical site infection following colorectal surgery.

Trial registration: NCT01143883.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colon / surgery*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occlusive Dressings*
  • Rectum / surgery*
  • Silver / therapeutic use*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • silverlon
  • Silver

Associated data