3 Reasons Vacuum-Assisted Wound Closure Can Improve Outcomes

In some cases, especially when a patient is at high risk for complications from wounds, vacuum-assisted wound closure (wound VAC) might be used to improve the healing process. There are several reasons the wound VAC can improve outcomes during wound healing.

Reduce Infection

The wound VAC system requires special pieces of foam to be placed over the wound; then adhesive plastic is placed over the entire area to create a leak-proof seal. This seal not only allows to vacuum device to maintain suction, but it may decrease the risk of infection. Even with wounds that are currently infected, there is the risk of introducing a new infection if the wound is exposed to the environment and not properly treated. Since the wound is sealed off from the environment, it may be easier to avoid introducing bacteria into the wound and causing an infection, or introducing a new infection.

Decrease Swelling

The gentle suction created by the wound VAC can help decrease swelling, which can impede wound healing. Extra fluid that might normally accumulate in and around a wound is gently pulled away from the wound and surrounding tissue. Not only does extra fluid inhibit the healing process, it can also create an environment that is favorable for bacterial growth. When swelling is decreased, the patient may find the would is less painful. Both swelling and fluid accumulation can make a wound and the healing process unnecessarily painful to the patient, especially if the wound is located in an area that is difficult to elevate or one that always makes contact with a bed or chair, such as the buttocks or back of the thigh.

Encourage The Natural Healing Process

When a vacuum is created over the wound, the suction encourages more blood flow to the area. This means more of the body's natural healing mechanisms are recruited to the site of the injury, which can expedite the healing process. Additionally, the dressing used for the wound VAC allows the wound to stay moist and warm, which is better for wounds. Many people erroneously believe drying out a wound may help with the healing process, but this prevents granulation from occurring. This new vascular tissue is what keeps the wound edges healthy and viable, so the wound can eventually close. Dry edges of a wound cannot meet and eventually seal the area closed. When the edges of a wound become dry and granulation tissue does not form, the area will need debridement to remove the dead or damaged wound edges.

Vacuum-assisted wound closure is a novel approach to wound care, especially among patients at a high risk for complications, such as diabetics. Not only does the wound VAC reduce complications, but it may also speed the healing process.