Prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy after cesarean is associated with reduced risk of surgical site infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Feb;218(2):200-210.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.09.017. Epub 2017 Sep 23.


Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the effect of prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy on surgical site infections and other wound complications in women after cesarean delivery.

Data sources: We searched Ovid Medline, Embase, SCOPUS, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and

Study eligibility criteria: We included randomized controlled trials and observational studies comparing prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy with standard wound dressing for cesarean delivery.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods: The primary outcome was surgical site infection after cesarean delivery. Secondary outcomes were composite wound complications, wound dehiscence, wound seroma, endometritis, and hospital readmission. Heterogeneity was assessed using Higgin's I2. Relative risks with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using random-effects models.

Results: Six randomized controlled trials and 3 cohort studies in high-risk mostly obese women met inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. Six were full-text articles, 2 published abstracts, and 1 report of trial results in Studies were also heterogeneous in the patients included and type of negative-pressure wound therapy device. The risk of surgical site infection was significantly lower with the use of prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy compared with standard wound dressing (7 studies: pooled risk ratio, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.31-0.66; adjusted risk ratio, -6.0%, 95% confidence interval, -10.0% to -3.0%; number needed to treat, 17, 95% confidence interval, 10-34). There was no evidence of significant statistical heterogeneity (I2 = 9.9%) or publication bias (Egger P = .532). Of the secondary outcomes, only composite wound complications were significantly reduced in patients receiving prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy compared with standard dressing (9 studies: pooled risk ratio, 0.68, 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.94).

Conclusion: Studies on the effectiveness of prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy at cesarean delivery are heterogeneous but suggest a reduction in surgical site infection and overall wound complications. Larger definitive trials are needed to clarify the clinical utility of prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy after cesarean delivery.

Keywords: antibiotics; cesarean delivery; dehiscence; endometritis; hospital readmission; meta-analysis; prophylactic negative-pressure wound therapy; seroma; surgical site infection.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / prevention & control
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome