Background: Closed-incision negative pressure wound therapy (ciNPWT) has shown promise in reducing surgical wound complications. Among its numerous benefits, it allows for exudate management and tension offloading from wound edges. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the efficacy of prophylactic ciNPWT versus conventional dressings on abdominal donor site complications in microsurgical breast reconstruction (MR).
Methods: A systematic review was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines in January 2023. PubMed and Embase were searched to identify all relevant studies. Data collected included rates of total wound complications, wound dehiscence, infection, seroma, and length of hospital stay.
Results: A total of 202 articles were screened, and eight studies (1009 patients) met the inclusion criteria. Use of ciNPWT was associated with a significantly lower rate of wound dehiscence (OR, 0.53; 95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.85; P = 0.0085, I2 = 0%). There was no significant difference in the rate of total wound complications [odds ratio (OR), 0.63; 95% CI, 0.35-1.14; P = 0.12, I2 = 69%], donor site infection (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.42-1.50; P = 0.47, I2 = 13%), seroma (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.22-2.49; P = 0.63, I2 = 57%), or length of hospital stay (SMD, 0.089; 95% CI, -0.13-0.35; P = 0.37, I2 = 29%).
Conclusions: Although exudate management by ciNPWT fails to reduce surgical site infection, seroma formation, and overall length of stay, ciNPWT tension offloading properties seem to be associated with lower rates of wound dehiscence when compared with conventional dressings in abdominal-based autologous breast reconstruction.