In the United States, over 1,000,000 total joint arthroplasty (TJA) surgeries are performed annually and has been forecasted that this number will exceed 4,000,000 by the year 2030. Many different types of dressing exist for use in TJA surgery, and it is unclear if any of the newer, hydrofibre dressings are superior to traditional dressings at reducing rates of infections or improving wound healing. Thus, the aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the impact of hydrofiber dressings on reducing complications.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed using the online databases MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing hydrofibre dressings to a standard dressing were included. Summary measures are reported as odds ratios (ORs) and mean differences (MDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Our primary outcome was prosthetic joint infection (PJI). Secondary outcomes included blisters, dressing changes and wound irritation.
5 RCTs were included. Hydrofibre dressing had no observable effect on PJI or wound irritation (OR 0.53; 95% CI, 0.14–1.98; p = 0.35). Hydrofibre dressings reduced the rate of blisters (OR 0.36; 95% CI, 0.14–0.90; p = 0.03) and number of dressing changes (MD -1.89; 95% CI, -2.68 to -1.11).
In conclusion, evidence suggests hydrofibre dressings have no observable effect on PJI and wound irritation. Evidence for reduction in blisters and number of dressings is modest given wide CIs and biased trial methodologies. Use of hydrofibre dressings should be considered inconclusive for mitigating major complications in light of current best evidence.