Negative pressure wound therapy in spinal fusion patients

Asad S. Akhter*, Benjamin G. McGahan, Liesl Close, David Dornbos, Nathaniel Toop, Nicholas R. Thomas, Elizabeth Christ, Nader S. Dahdaleh, Andrew J. Grossbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Post-operative wound complications are some of the most common acute complications following spine surgery. These surgical site infections (SSI) contribute to increased healthcare related costs. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has long been used for treatment of soft tissue injury or defects. NPWT may reduce the incident of SSI following spinal fusion procedures; however, its potential applications need further clarification. Thus, we conducted a retrospective analysis of two cohorts to compare NPWT to traditional sterile dressings following spinal fusions in regards to post-operative outcomes. Following institutional review board approval, 42 patients who had a NPWT were matched by type of surgery to 42 patients who had traditional dressings. A retrospective chart-review was completed. Outcome measures, particularly SSI and need for reoperation, were analyzed using one-way ANOVA for both univariate and multivariate analysis. When controlled for sex and body-mass index, the use of a NPWT was independently correlated with decreased SSI (P =.035). Superficial dehiscence, seroma, need for additional outpatient care, and need for operative revision were all found to occur at higher rates in the traditional dressing cohort. Closed incisional negative pressure wound therapy provides a cost-effective method of decreasing surgical site infection for posterior elective spine surgeries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Wound Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • fusion
  • negative pressure wound therapy
  • outcomes
  • spine
  • surgical site infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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