Considerations for an ideal post-surgical wound dressing aligned with antimicrobial stewardship objectives: a scoping review

Karen Ousey, Mark G. Rippon, Alan A. Rogers, Joshua Totty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Most surgical wounds heal by primary or secondary intention. Surgical wounds can present specific and unique challenges including wound dehiscence and surgical site infection (SSI), either of which can increase risk of morbidity and mortality. The use of antimicrobials to treat infection in these wounds is prevalent, but there is now an imperative to align treatment with reducing antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). The aim of this review was to explore the published evidence identifying general considerations/criteria for an ideal post-surgical wound dressing in terms of overcoming potential wound healing challenges (including infection) while supporting AMS objectives.

A scoping review examining evidence published from 1954–2021, conducted by two authors acting independently. Results were synthesised narratively and have been reported in line with PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews.

A total of 819 articles were initially identified and subsequently filtered to 178 for inclusion in the assessment. The search highlighted six key outcomes of interest associated with post-surgical wound dressings: wound infection; wound healing; physical attributes related to comfort, conformability and flexibility; fluid handling (e.g., blood and exudate); pain; and skin damage.

There are several challenges that can be overcome when treating a post-surgical wound with a dressing, not least the prevention and treatment of SSIs. However, it is imperative that the use of antimicrobial wound dressings is aligned with AMS programmes and alternatives to active antimicrobials investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-347
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of wound care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023


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