What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy?

Negative pressure wound therapy is a complementary wound therapy and is gaining attention in the EU and America regions.

Introduction

Negative pressure wound therapy is a complementary wound therapy that is gaining attention in the EU and North America. Negative pressure wound therapy refers to continuously or intermittently applying sub-atmospheric pressure to the surface of a wound bed to remove exudate absorbed by dressings or collected in a canister.

Applications and Advantages

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

  • Healing improvement:

    When NPWT is applied, wounds can be maintained in a wet environment, reducing edema, improve blood supply, proliferate granulation tissue, and accelerate recovery.

  • Infection prevention:

    NPWT aids bacteria clearance. Vacuuming in a single direction can also prevent further infection.

  • Discomfort reduction:

    NPWT can reduce the frequency of dressing changes and is deemed as a way to alleviate a patient’s physical and financial burden, as well as minimize wasting of healthcare resources.

Contraindications

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

  • Untreated osteomyelitis

  • Non-intestinal fistula or fistula without exploratory laparotomy

  • Necrotic tissue with scab

  • Open wounds associated with vessels, nerves, tendons and bones

  • Wounds at the anastomotic site

  • Bone/tendon-exposed wounds

  • Malignant wounds

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