BACKGROUND: Complicated skin and skin-structure infections (cSSSI), including surgical site infections (SSI), cellulitis, and abscesses, have been extensively studied, but controversial issues still exist. CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES: The aim of this GISIG (Gruppo Italiano di Studio sulle Infezioni Gravi) working group - a panel of multidisciplinary experts - was to define recommendations for the following controversial issues: (1) What is the efficacy of topical negative pressure wound treatment as compared to standard of care in the treatment of severe surgical site infections, i.e., deep infections, caused by Gram-positive microorganisms? (2) Which are the most effective antibiotic therapies in the treatment of cSSSI, including SSI, due to methicillin-resistant staphylococci? Results are presented and discussed. METHODS: A systematic literature search using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and www.clinicaltrials.gov databases of randomized controlled trials and/or non-randomized studies was performed. A matrix was created to extract evidence from original studies using the CONSORT method to evaluate randomized clinical trials and the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale for case-control studies, longitudinal cohorts, and retrospective studies. The GRADE method was used for grading quality of evidence. An analysis of the studies published between 1990 and 2008 is presented and discussed in detail.
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