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AIMS: To compare the cost-utility of standard dressing with incisional negative-pressure wound therapy (iNPWT) in adults with closed surgical wounds associated with major trauma to the lower limbs. METHODS: A within-trial economic evaluation was conducted from the UK NHS and personal social services (PSS) perspective based on data collected from the Wound Healing in Surgery for Trauma (WHiST) multicentre randomized clinical trial. Health resource utilization was collected over a six-month post-randomization period using trial case report forms and participant-completed questionnaires. Cost-utility was reported in terms of incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to test the robustness of cost-effectiveness estimates while uncertainty was handled using confidence ellipses and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. RESULTS: The incremental cost of standard dressing versus iNPWT over six months was £2,037 (95% confidence interval (CI) £349 to £3,724). There was an insignificant increment in QALYs gained in the iNPWT group (0.005, 95% CI -0.018 to 0.028). The probability of iNPWT being cost-effective at £20,000 per QALY was 1.9%. The results remained robust in the sensitivity analysis. CONCLUSION: The within-trial economic evaluation suggests that iNPWT is unlikely to be a cost-effective alternative to standard dressing in adults with closed surgical wounds to their lower limbs. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(8):1072-1081.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





1072 - 1081


Closed surgical wound, Dressing, Effectiveness, Lower limb, Negative-pressure wound therapy, cost, Adult, Bandages, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Female, Humans, Injury Severity Score, Leg Injuries, Male, Middle Aged, Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Surgical Wound, United Kingdom, Wound Healing