With approximately 250 million major surgical procedures performed worldwide each year, closed surgical incisions are common.1 Unfortunately, even if surgery is successful and primary closure achieved, the incision may be associated with postoperative complications including infection, seroma, hematoma, local skin ischemia, necrosis, dehiscence, and delayed healing.2 The aim of postoperative care of closed surgical incisions is to allow the wound to heal without complications and with the best functional and aesthetic results. Functions of an incisional dressing include acting as a barrier to external contamination, absorbing excessive blood and exudate, and providing an environment to aid healing. These dressings have ranged from a simple coverage bandage to dressings containing antimicrobial agents to negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT).
A new surgical wound dressing containing hydroconductive material and utilizing LevaFiber™ technology was placed in contact with the incision (Drawtex® Surgical Dressing, SteadMed Medical LLC, Fort Worth, TX) in a series of 14 orthopedic operations (see Figure 1). The incisions included procedures such as total knee replacements (see Figure 2). The dressing, designed to draw off exudate, debris, bacteria, and deleterious cytokines, was situated on the incision at the completion of the operation and left in place unless it became saturated, in which case it was replaced with an identical dressing. Due to the composition of the dressing, saturation did not occur in any of the 14 cases and no wound complications were observed in the 14 patients. Any drainage from the incision was drawn off by the dressing, leaving the incision clear to heal without problems (see Figure 3). The dressing proved to be especially useful in difficult areas to dress such as over mobile joints (see Figure 4). Blood, exudate, and bacteria were drawn into the dressing in a manner similar to NPWT.
A novel hydroconductive surgical dressing proved to be an excellent surgical wound dressing and eliminated incisional complications in a series of 14 orthopedic surgical procedures.