Advanced dressings for the prevention of surgical site infection in women post-caesarean section: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Samodani Wijetunge, Ruby Hill, R. Katie Morris, Victoria Hodgetts Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective(s): Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a common complication post-caesarean section. Advanced dressings aim to provide an optimal wound environment, primarily by physically or chemically controlling moisture, in order to promote timely healing. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of advanced dressings in SSI prevention post-caesarean section. Secondary effectiveness outcomes included superficial SSI, endometritis, wound dehiscence, rehospitalisation and length of rehospitalisation.

Study design: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis according to PRISMA guidelines. A protocol was registered a priori. MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL and CINAHL databases were searched from inception to May 2021, without date or language restrictions. Keywords included: caesarean section; bandages; dressing and surgical wound infection. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were included if they investigated any advanced dressing in women post-caesarean section compared to simple dressings and assessed SSI incidence. Relative risks (RR), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and p-values, were calculated using Review Manager software (RevMan version 5.0, The Cochrane Collaboration). I2 percentages were reported to assess heterogeneity and a funnel plot was produced to assess publication bias. Quality assessment was performed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool. All data were double-extracted and discrepancies were finalised by a third reviewer.

Results: From 253 citations identified, six RCTs were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Two studies investigated dialkylcarbamoyl chloride (DACC)-impregnated dressings; two investigated silver-impregnated dressings; one investigated copper-impregnated dressings and one investigated chlorhexidine gluconate dressings. The overall meta-analysis showed that advanced dressings did not reduce SSI risk (RR 0.81 [95% CI 0.52–1.24; p = 0.32]). However, subgroup analysis revealed that DACC-impregnated dressings reduced SSI risk (RR 0.33 [95% CI 0.14–0.77; p = 0.01]). Silver-impregnated dressings caused a nonsignificant increase in SSI risk (RR 1.20 [95% CI 0.77–1.88; p = 0.41]). All studies showed a high risk of bias.

Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests DACC dressings potentially reduce SSI. However we have shown no benefit of silver dressings. Further high-quality RCTs are required to recommend a change in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Advanced dressing
  • Caesarean section
  • Dialkylcarbamoyl chloride
  • Endometritis
  • Surgical site infection
  • Wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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