All surgeons are familiar with the delayed healing of wounds involving large flaps of skin, which require approximation to the underlying tissues for nourishment. The accumulation of serous fluid beneath these flaps and the continuation of capillary oozing often prevent the primary adherence of these tissues and the prompt revascularization of the skin flaps.
For generations surgeons have attempted to counteract these forces by the application of bulky pressure dressings, which were intended to approximate the skin flaps to the deep tissues for adequate nutrition, assure hemostasis and prevent the formation of a hematoma. The profuse collection of serum, however, soon saturates the pressure dressing, with the development of a foul odor and persistent irritation of the poorly nourished skin flaps. Infections and necrosis frequently develop, with exposure of the underlying tissues and protracted morbidity.
Soft rubber wicks have been employed for years to "drain" these wounds after surgery, but
von LEDEN H, KAPLAN J. Closed Wound Suction in Head and Neck Surgery. Arch Otolaryngol. 1962;75(2):103–107. doi:10.1001/archotol.1962.00740040109005