Slow-to-heal wounds are a common problem for people with circulation problems, including people with diabetes. Unfortunately, even a small delay in healing can dramatically increase your risk of infections, which can lead to amputations or life-threatening infections.
At Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic and Hyperbarics, board-certified physician Dr. Badam, MD, CWSP, UHM, uses advanced wound care techniques like wound vac to treat hard-to-heal wounds, including dangerous diabetic foot ulcers. Here, she explains wound vac therapy and how it might help you.
Quick facts about wound vac therapy
Also called negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) or vacuum-assisted closure (VAC), wound vac therapy works by applying gentle, continual negative pressure around the wound, creating a vacuum or suction effect.
The vacuum pressure works in a couple of ways to create a more optimal healing environment that gives the area a chance to recover.
First, gentle suction helps pull excess fluid, dangerous bacteria, and other pathogens and debris away from the wound site. These are all elements that can interfere with natural healing and make it harder for other therapies, like antibiotics, to take effect.
Second, vacuum pressure around the wound increases circulation to the area. Healthy blood flow is essential for healing, delivering oxygen and nutrients necessary to fight off infections and support new tissue growth to close open sores.
In addition to treating deep sores and diabetic ulcers, vacuum-assisted closure is often used in people with skin grafts, traumatic injuries, and very large wounds that pose more of an infection risk.
How vacuum-assisted closure works
Negative pressure wound therapy uses a special foam dressing that we place over the wound. A layer of plastic adhesive film placed over the foam creates a seal.
The dressing is connected to a small vacuum pump via a drainage tube. The pump and tube create the gentle suction that helps remove fluids and bacteria while promoting healing. Suction also helps bring together the edges of the wound, so it heals properly.
Depending on your therapy plan, the vacuum pump may work continuously or in cycles. During therapy, you need to carry the device with you, and your dressing needs to be changed every 24-72 hours.
Benefits of wound vac therapy
In addition to improving healing, negative pressure wound therapy can:
- Reduce swelling
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce pain
By arresting the infection, NPWT can also help prevent an infection from spreading.
Vacuum-assisted closure is also more cost-effective than some other types of advanced wound care, and while you do need to carry the pump device with you, its small size makes it easy to get around.
NPWT is one of several wound care therapies we offer. To learn about this and other therapies that can help you avoid serious wound-related complications, call us today at 210-651-1112 or book an appointment online with our San Antonio, Texas, clinic.