After an operation, most wounds are closed using stitches or staples. Some wounds cannot be closed in this way and are left open. Sometimes wounds that have been closed may open up again. These “open” wounds are usually left to heal, over time, from the bottom up rather than attempting to close them again by some other means.
The most common treatment for these wounds is plain dressings. Another type of treatment is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) which is a relatively new treatment for open surgical wounds. It uses a small machine to apply suction to a wound through a special dressing. Use of NPWT has become more common and is used in around one third of people with open surgical wounds. It is not known which of these (NPWT or wound dressings) is the most effective treatment for surgical wounds healing by secondary intention and which treatment is best value for money.
The SWHSI-2 Trial will therefore compare NPWT to normal wound dressings to see if it makes any difference to how quickly these open wounds heal.
Patients aged 18 years or older, with a surgical wound healing by secondary intention, will be invited to take part. Patients who agree to take part will receive one of the two treatments, selected at random using a computer system. We will compare what happens to the two groups over 12 months including: how long it takes peoples’ wounds to heal; other important events such as number of infections, hospital admissions and further operations; and how much both treatments cost.