Negative Pressure Wound Therapy
What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy?
Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is an advanced wound-healing technique that uses a vacuum pump and special sealed dressing to create a negative pressure environment. The vacuum efficiently removes fluids and waste materials from the wound bed while stimulating blood flow to the area. This therapeutic process may also help bring wound edges together as an essential part of wound healing. In addition to a vacuum pump, NPWT devices have tubing for fluid and waste removal, a waste container for storing removed materials, and dressing material to pack and seal the wound.
NPWT devices enable the delivery of fluids, such as saline or antibiotics, that irrigate the wound, along with the intermittent removal of used fluid – all of which support the cleaning and drainage of the wound bed itself. NPWT helps promote healing in acute or chronic wounds, as well as first- and second-degree burns. Although this therapy is also useful for treating diabetic ulcers, further research is needed for other types of wounds.
NPWT is not to be used on all patients or wounds. Contraindications include:
- Exposed vasculature
- Exposed nerves
- Exposed organs
- Exposed anastomotic site
- A malignancy in the wound
- Necrotic tissue with eschar present
- Untreated osteomyelitis
- Non-enteric and unexplored fistulas