Preliminary Study Results Find 47 Percent Fewer Complications, Higher Patient Satisfaction with AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL Cover Dressing


Earlier study credits advanced antimicrobial dressing with 76% reduction in surgical site infections

Skillman, NJ, May 15, 2013 – Preliminary findings from a new prospective study of complications after knee replacement surgery show a 47 percent decrease in wound complications, such as skin blistering and prolonged healing, when AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing was used, compared with standard surgical dressing.

Patients in the study also reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction with AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing versus standard dressing in the areas of comfort, hygiene and mobility post surgery.

The preliminary results of the study, which was conducted at the OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee Center with support from ConvaTec, were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Also presented during the meeting were final results of a large retrospective study of infections following knee and hip replacement surgery, also supported by ConvaTec. These results, of 1,778 patients, showed AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing reduced the incidence of joint infections by 76 percent, compared with standard gauze dressing.

“Reducing hospital-acquired infections and increasing patient satisfaction have become critically important in light of the new healthcare law in the U.S., which links hospital reimbursement rates to these measures,” said Bryan D. Springer, MD, Fellowship Director, OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee Center, and author of the study.  “These studies confirm that AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL can have a direct impact on these measures.”

More than one million knee and hip replacement surgeries are performed annually in the U.S. Wound complications following these surgeries are common.  These complications increase the risk of patients developing surgical site infections, which can be dangerous and expensive—they can drive up treatment costs $60,000 to $100,000 and extend hospital stays seven to 10 days—and often result in the need for additional surgery. A study published last year in the Journal of Arthroplasty estimated the annual cost of infected revision surgeries to U.S. hospitals at $566 million in 2009, and projected to exceed $1.62 billion by 2020.

“Complications following joint surgery can be physically and mentally devastating for patients, as well as costly for healthcare facilities.  As the results of these studies indicate, the use of AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing can make a significant difference in reducing these complications, including surgical site infections, and improving patient satisfaction,” Dr. Springer concluded.

About the Study

In the first of a two-part prospective study conducted at the OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee Center, 150 knee replacement patients were randomly selected to receive either the advanced antimicrobial surgical dressing or a standard gauze and tape surgical dressing following surgery.  Standard protocols were followed for wound closure and dressing changes.  Preliminary results showed that 43 percent of patients with the standard dressing developed wound complications, compared with only 23 percent of patients with the AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing.  Patients in the study were asked to rate their perceptions of the dressings in relation to their personal hygiene and activities of daily living after surgery.  On measures such as the ability to shower, change clothes, sit and sleep comfortably, patient satisfaction ratings for AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing were higher than for the standard dressing.

Results from the second of the two-part study focusing on 150 patients following hip replacement surgery will be presented at upcoming meetings.

About AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL Cover Dressing

AQUACEL® Ag SURGICAL cover dressing combines a proprietary Hydrofiber® Technology wound contact layer with the skin-like flexibility of DuoDerm™ Technology.  The advanced antimicrobial cover dressing is designed to protect surgical incisions with a waterproof viral and bacterial barrier that also allows for greater range of motion and comfort after surgery.

About AQUACEL® Dressings with Hydrofiber® Technology

AQUACEL® dressings with Hydrofiber® Technology, exclusively from ConvaTec, gel on contact with wound exudate, providing clinicians and patients with substantial wound care benefits.  As demonstrated in vitro, this unique gelling action locks in exudate and harmful bacteria  and micro-contours to a simulated wound bed, minimizing “dead space” where bacteria can thrive.  

AQUACEL® Ag dressings with ionic silver provide rapid, effective and sustained antimicrobial activity.  As demonstrated in vitro, AQUACEL® Ag dressings kill a broad spectrum of pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), within 30 minutes of exposure to the dressing, for up to seven days.

About ConvaTec

ConvaTec is a leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.  With four key focus areas – Ostomy Care, Wound Therapeutics, Continence and Critical Care, and Infusion Devices – ConvaTec products support healthcare professionals from the hospital to the community health setting.


References are available upon request.

Hydrofiber and AQUACEL are trademarks of ConvaTec Inc.

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