We searched the MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library databases for articles published between January 1995 and April 2011. The update of this clinical practice guideline is the result of reviewing a total of 54 clinical trials and systematic reviews on incentive spirometry. The following recommendations are made following the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) scoring system. 1: Incentive spirometry alone is not recommended for routine use in the preoperative and postoperative setting to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications. 2: It is recommended that incentive spirometry be used with deep breathing techniques, directed coughing, early mobilization, and optimal analgesia to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications. 3: It is suggested that deep breathing exercises provide the same benefit as incentive spirometry in the preoperative and postoperative setting to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications. 4: Routine use of incentive spirometry to prevent atelectasis in patients after upper-abdominal surgery is not recommended. 5: Routine use of incentive spirometry to prevent atelectasis after coronary artery bypass graft surgery is not recommended. 6: It is suggested that a volume-oriented device be selected as an incentive spirometry device.