DOI: 10.1177/19386400231225708 ISSN: 1938-6400

Advancements in Managing Wound Biofilm: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials on Topical Modalities

Adam Astrada, Rian Adi Pamungkas, Khoirul Rista Abidin
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Podiatry
  • Surgery

Despite numerous available agents claiming anti-biofilm properties on wounds, the substantiating evidence remains inconclusive. This study aimed to assess the immediate impact of topical wound treatments on wound biofilm and healing outcomes in acute and chronic ulcers. We comprehensively searched PubMed,, and Google Scholar. In addition, eligible gray literature was incorporated. English-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs), observational, cohort, and case-control studies targeting biofilm prevention, inhibition, or elimination across diverse wound types were included. Primary outcomes included biofilm presence and elimination, supplemented by secondary outcomes encompassing reduced wound size, complete closure, and diminished infection indicators. Bacterial load reduction and biofilm presence were also assessed. Twenty-eight articles met the inclusion criteria. Various modalities were identified, including biofilm-visualization techniques, such as wound blotting and handheld autofluorescence imaging. Pooled analysis for the primary outcomes was infeasible due to limited eligible studies and data-reporting challenges. As for the secondary outcomes, the pooled analysis for complete surgical wound closure (2 RCTs, yielding n=284) and presence of surgical site infections/inflammation (2 RCTs, yielding n=284) showed no significant difference, with a log odds ratio (LOD) of 0.58 (95% confidence interval [CI]: −.33, 1.50) and LOD −0.95 (95% CI: −3.54, 1.64; τ2 = 2.32, Q = 2.71, P = .10), respectively. Our findings suggest insufficient evidence to support anti-biofilm claims of topical modalities. Clinicians’ skill appears to play a pivotal role in biofilm elimination and wound healing enhancement, with potential optimization through visual-guided techniques, such as wound blotting and autofluorescence imaging. More rigorous clinical trials are warranted to ascertain the efficacy of these techniques.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic, 1A

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