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November 2005

Topical Negative Pressure Devices: Use for Enhancement of Healing Chronic Wounds

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, and Wound Healing Clinic, Sacramento Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mather, Calif.

Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(11):1449-1453. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.11.1449

Chronic wounds present a significant challenge, because there are few available treatment options for timely healing. Topical negative pressure devices have been used in a number of different types of wounds, including chronic wounds. They are believed to hasten wound healing by (1) maintaining a moist environment, (2) removing wound exudates, (3) increasing local blood flow, (4) increasing granulation tissue formation, (5) applying mechanical pressure to promote wound closure, and (6) reducing bacterial loads in the wound. Multiple nonrandomized, noncontrolled studies have reported that the use of these devices results in faster healing times and more successful closures. Five small randomized, controlled trials have also shown favorable outcomes with the use of topical negative pressure devices compared with conventional treatment. Adverse effects include discomfort, pain, and excessive tissue growth into the dressing. Complications are limited if the device is used properly. In light of the current treatment options, topical negative pressure devices may be considered useful as adjuvant therapy for chronic wounds; however, there is inadequate definitive evidence that wound healing is substantially better with these devices than with traditional therapy.