What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy?

What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy?

Introduction of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)

Negative pressure wound therapy is a complementary wound therapy and is gaining attention in the EU and America regions. Negative pressure wound therapy refers to continuously or intermittently apply subatmospheric pressure to the surface of a wound bed, making exudate absorbed by dressings or collected in a canister.

Applications and Advantages

Negative pressure wound therapy is often used in skin graft, the complicated acute wounds, surgical wounds, the chronic wounds, burn wounds, and ulcers. This treatment has following advantages:

1. Healing improvement: When NPWT is applied, wounds can be maintained in a wet environment, and the edema can be declined to improve blood supply, proliferate granulation tissue and accelerate recovery.
2. Infection prevention: NPWT aids bacteria clearance. Also vacuuming in a single direction can prevent from further infection.
3. Discomfort reduction: NPTW can decrease frequency of dressing change and is seemed as methods of alleviating patents’ physical and financial burdens, as well as reducing waste of healthcare resources. 


In Taiwan where healthcare was covered by National Health Insurance, the negative pressure therapy is mainly applied to hard-to-healing chronic wounds such as diabetic foot, pressure ulcer and bed sores. However, not all wounds can be treated with negative pressure wound therapy, such as

1. Untreated Osteomyelitis
2. Non-Intestinal fistula or fistula without exploratory laparotomy
3. Necrotic tissue with scab
4. Open wounds associated with vessels, nerve, tendon and bones
5. Wounds at the Anastomotic site
6. Bone/tendon exposed wounds
7. Malignant wounds  

The progress of conducting negative pressure therapy needs to be carefully evaluated by professionals in conjunction with good wound care for better recovery.