What is Wound VAC?

Vacuum-assisted closure (wound VAC) can also be referred to as negative-pressure wound therapy. This is a method of wound care that uses a vacuum to decrease air pressure on the wound to help it heal.

How Does Wound VAC work?

Wound VAC, or Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT), systems require electricity and include a vacuum pump, tubing for drainage and wound dressing.

The wound VAC technique promotes several factors that create an optimal wound healing environment:

  • Increases blood flow to the wound. Having an adequate flow of blood to the wound is necessary for it to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal.
  • Helps natural wound contraction. Negative pressure on the wound can help it to draw the edges of itself together and shrink.
  • Helps create new tissue and blood vessels. New connective tissue and tiny blood vessels, or granulation tissue (which is necessary for wound healing), need to form on the surface of the wound to help it heal.
  • Decreases fluids. Wound VAC can help reduce the amount of fluid and infectious material seepage (exudate) from the wound and in any nearby swollen tissue (edema).

What is the Wound VAC Process?

Your podiatrist will need to prepare the wound and set up the NPWT system. This consists of:

  • Cleansing and debridement of the wound to remove dead tissue and debris
  • Cutting the wound VAC sponge to fill, and fit the shape of the wound bed
  • Taping the sponge down
  • Cutting a hole into the tape in the center of the wound to insert the suction tube, and taping it down to create an air-tight seal
  • Offload the wound VAC tubing with gauze to make it more comfortable for the patient and to avoid it causing a pressure injury
  • Setting the wound VAC, or NPWT, device to generally -125 mmHg of negative pressure—either in a continuous or intermittent mode

Once the device is set, the sponge will scrunch down and draw out any fluid from the open wound and assist in its natural contraction. This also reduces the wound treatment period, simplifies things for the patient by not having to change their wound dressing frequently, and reduces the overall cost of wound care procedures.

Where is Wound VAC Therapy Performed?

Wound VAC can be performed in your podiatrist’s office or in a medical facility. In some cases, depending on the location and size of the wound, patients can continue wound VAC therapy in the comfort of their own home.

Patients can shower with the dressing in place as long as it doesn’t get overly wet, and the patient disconnects from the NPWT device.

Talk to your podiatrist to learn more, and to discover if your wound may benefit from wound VAC therapy.

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