Negative pressure wound therapy

A streamlined version of ‘negative-pressure’ wound therapy is put to the test in Haiti — and could have ‘enormous potential’ across the developing world.

Nobody knows precisely why it works, but doctors have known for decades that the healing process for open wounds can be greatly speeded up by applying negative pressure — that is, suction — under a bandage sealed tightly over the affected area. The speculation is that it helps by drawing bacteria and fluid away from the wound, keeping it cleaner.

For patients, there is a benefit even beyond the speedier healing. Traditional dressings need to be removed and replaced — sometimes painfully — up to three times a day, but with the negative pressure system dressings can be left in place for a few days. But in the developing world, there’s a problem: The systems are expensive, and they need to be plugged in or powered by batteries that last only a few hours. In many developing nations, a reliable source of electricity is rarely available.

The rest of the story.


3 thoughts on “Negative pressure wound therapy”

  1. I am an RN at a major trauma hospital–we use these wound Vacuums all the time on slow healing wounds. Also, the suction stimulates cells in the area and encourages new cell growth.

  2. Twelve years ago this Christmastime, the Mrs. avoided a muscle flap thanks to the amazing healing of an experimental version of a negative-pressure device treating a resection revision (MRSA, I hate you…). We nicknamed it, “Monica” (you youngsters need to research the Clinton administration to understand), and she used it until the wound was too small to fit the tubing into, let alone the irradiated sponge-like bandage.

    It got her home to celebrate our daughter’s first Christmas, and like I said saved her another invasive surgery and six weeks in-patient. To this day, “Medicine Sucks” has a completely different meaning to us…

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