Comparison of Sterile and Clean Dressing Techniques in Post-operative Surgical Wound Infection in a Chinese Healthcare Facility

  • Xiao-ling Huang
  • Jing-qi Zhang
  • Shu-ting Guan
  • Wu-jin Liang
Keywords: Wound dressing, Postoperative, Antimicrobial resistance, Hospital acquired infections


Purpose: To investigate the effect of sterile and clean dressing techniques on wound management in a Chinese hospital, and to compare their impact on wound healing and the cost of the dressing materials with respect to postoperative surgical wounds.

Methods: A total of 130 patients, comprising 70 (53.8 %) males and 60 (46.2 %) females, who had undergone surgery in The Affiliated Hospital of Changchun Traditional Chinese Medicine University, Changchun, China in 2012 – 2014 were enrolled in the study. Of these, 65 (50 %) received sterile dressings and 65 (50 %) clean dressings. A control group comprising 25 patients, 15 (60 %) males and 10 (40 %) females, who attended the clinic for change dressings only, was also included. The patients’ dressings were changed four times daily with 2x sterile and 2x clean dressings. Details of all the changes, including the nutritional status of the patients, were recorded. The patients were followed-up up to the time of their discharge.

Results: Twelve (18.5 %) patients out of those who received sterile or clean dressings were found to have acquired an infection. The size of the wounds was approximately 1.8 to 32.4 cm3 (mean: 5.2 ± 6.4 cm3) in size at the start of the study and 0.6 to 4.2 cm3 at the end of the study. A significant difference was identified between the sterile and clean dressing groups at the beginning of the study (U = 72.5; p < 0.12). A decrease in wound size was observed in both of these groups but was not statistically significant, while the change in wound volume, was significantly different (U = 84.5; p < 0.25). When the cost of the two dressing types was compared, the sterile items were more expensive than that of the clean items; thus, sterile dressing procedure was significantly more costly than clean dressing procedure (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: With mounting concern regarding antimicrobial resistance and hospital-acquired infections, suitable wound dressing techniques are required to prevent infection and reduce the duration of wound healing after surgery without compromising patient safety.

Keywords: Wound dressing, Postoperative, Antimicrobial resistance, Hospital acquired infections


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996