Merck Manual

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Negative Pressure Wound Therapy


Kevin P. Winkler

, DVM, Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners

Last full review/revision Jul 2019 | Content last modified Aug 2019
Topic Resources

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), also known as vacuum-assisted closure (VAC), is used to aid in wound closure. The benefits attributed to NPWT include removal of fluid and debris, reduction of the bacterial burden, enhancement of angiogenesis leading to granulation tissue formation, and more rapid closure of wounds. The wound is filled with a NPWT foam and covered with an airtight, adhesive dressing. It is important to limit the foam to the actual wound to avoid trauma to adjacent healthy tissue. The site is then connected to a vacuum pump to maintain negative pressure. Current pumps allow variable settings for a variety of wound conditions. In addition to external wounds, NPWT may also be used to reduce abdominal contamination. Complications can occur when direct contact is made between the foam and an artery or abdominal organ. Frequently, the most difficult part of the procedure is maintaining an airtight seal in the bandage of the veterinary patient.

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