Berg A., Fleischer S., Kuss O., Unverzagt S. & Langer G. (2012) Timing of dressing removal in the healing of surgical wounds by primary intention: quantitative systematic review protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(2), 264–270.
Aim. The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the efficacy of different lengths of time of postoperative dressing removal in the healing of surgical wounds by primary intention.
Background. It is generally practiced and recommended in clinical guidelines to cover surgical incisions which are healing by primary intention postprocedure. However, the timing of dressing removal in relation to the prevention of surgical site infections has not yet been sufficiently examined.
Methods. The systematic review and meta-analyses will be performed according to the recommendations of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Randomized controlled trials will be included. Comparisons will be made between different durations of leaving dressings in place, including not dressing the surgical site at all, and covering wounds until suture removal. Primary outcome measure is the rate of surgical site infections. Funding of the review was confirmed in March 2010.
Discussion. The results of the review can put the timing of dressing removal for wounds which are healing by primary intention into perspective. Because of the widespread use of surgical dressings, clinical practice could be changed in various settings.