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: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01143883.