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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Antibiotics and antiseptics for surgical wounds healing by secondary intention

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2016
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (90th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (62nd percentile)

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1 blog
15 X users
6 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page


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308 Mendeley
Antibiotics and antiseptics for surgical wounds healing by secondary intention
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011712.pub2
Pubmed ID

Gill Norman, Jo C Dumville, Devi Prasad Mohapatra, Gemma L Owens, Emma J Crosbie


Following surgery, incisions are usually closed by fixing the edges together with sutures (stitches), staples, adhesives (glue) or clips. This process helps the cut edges heal together and is called 'healing by primary intention'. However, a minority of surgical wounds are not closed in this way. Where the risk of infection is high or there has been significant loss of tissue, wounds may be left open to heal by the growth of new tissue rather than by primary closure; this is known as 'healing by secondary intention'. There is a risk of infection in open wounds, which may impact on wound healing, and antiseptic or antibiotic treatments may be used with the aim of preventing or treating such infections. This review is one of a suite of Cochrane reviews investigating the evidence on antiseptics and antibiotics in different types of wounds. It aims to present current evidence related to the use of antiseptics and antibiotics for surgical wounds healing by secondary intention (SWHSI). To assess the effects of systemic and topical antibiotics, and topical antiseptics for the treatment of surgical wounds healing by secondary intention. In November 2015 we searched: The Cochrane Wounds Specialised Register; The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library); Ovid MEDLINE; Ovid MEDLINE (In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations); Ovid EMBASE and EBSCO CINAHL. We also searched three clinical trials registries and the references of included studies and relevant systematic reviews. There were no restrictions with respect to language, date of publication or study setting. Randomised controlled trials which enrolled adults with a surgical wound healing by secondary intention and assessed treatment with an antiseptic or antibiotic treatment. Studies enrolling people with skin graft donor sites were not included, neither were studies of wounds with a non-surgical origin which had subsequently undergone sharp or surgical debridement or other surgical treatments or wounds within the oral or aural cavities. Two review authors independently performed study selection, risk of bias assessment and data extraction. Eleven studies with a total of 886 participants were included in the review. These evaluated a range of comparisons in a range of surgical wounds healing by secondary intention. In general studies were small and some did not present data or analyses that could be easily interpreted or related to clinical outcomes. These factors reduced the quality of the evidence.Two comparisons compared different iodine preparations with no antiseptic treatment and found no clear evidence of effects for these treatments. The outcome data available were limited and what evidence there was low quality.One study compared a zinc oxide mesh dressing with a plain mesh dressing. There was no clear evidence of a difference in time to wound healing between groups. There was some evidence of a difference in measures used to assess wound infection (wound with foul smell and number of participants prescribed antibiotics) which favoured the zinc oxide group. This was low quality evidence.One study reported that sucralfate cream increased the likelihood of healing open wounds following haemorrhoidectomy compared to a petrolatum cream (RR: 1.50, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.99) over a three week period. This evidence was graded as being of moderate quality. The study also reported lower wound pain scores in the sucralfate group.There was a reduction in time to healing of open wounds following haemorrhoidectomy when treated with Triclosan post-operatively compared with a standard sodium hypochlorite solution (mean difference -1.70 days, 95% CI -3.41 to 0.01). This was classed as low quality evidence.There was moderate quality evidence that more open wounds resulting from excision of pyomyositis abscesses healed when treated with a honey-soaked gauze compared with a EUSOL-soaked gauze over three weeks' follow-up (RR: 1.58, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.42). There was also some evidence of a reduction in the mean length of hospital stay in the honey group. Evidence was taken from one small study that only had 43 participants.There was moderate quality evidence that more Dermacym®-treated post-operative foot wounds in people with diabetes healed compared to those treated with iodine (RR 0.61, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.93). Again estimates came from one small study with 40 participants. There is no robust evidence on the relative effectiveness of any antiseptic/antibiotic/anti-bacterial preparation evaluated to date for use on SWHSI. Where some evidence for possible treatment effects was reported, it stemmed from single studies with small participant numbers and was classed as moderate or low quality evidence. This means it is likely or very likely that further research will have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect, and may change this estimate.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 15 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 308 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Chile 1 <1%
Unknown 306 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 42 14%
Student > Bachelor 41 13%
Researcher 23 7%
Student > Postgraduate 21 7%
Student > Doctoral Student 17 6%
Other 62 20%
Unknown 102 33%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 118 38%
Nursing and Health Professions 31 10%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 7 2%
Psychology 7 2%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 6 2%
Other 29 9%
Unknown 110 36%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 22. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 July 2021.
All research outputs
of 25,381,783 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,981 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 309,205 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 272 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,381,783 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,981 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.9. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 309,205 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 272 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 62% of its contemporaries.