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June 1959

Use of Suction in Control of Residual, Infected, or Draining Cavities, Tracts, and Fistulas

Author Affiliations

U. S. A. F.; U. S. Army
From the Department of Surgery and General Surgery Service, Tripler Army Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(6):962-965. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320060150023

Mechanical principles and basic elements of wound healing too often are neglected, attempts being made to substitute antibiotic administration for application of fundamentals of surgery. Young physicians are prone to order antibiotics for any patient who has a residual or infected cavity or a draining sinus tract, neglecting the important aspects of proper wound care. Almost any wound will heal and most cavities or tracts will close, provided that they are kept clean and dry and provided, further, that there is no retained foreign body, neoplastic tissue, or specific granulomatous infection. In an attempt to emphasize the importance of wound care, a widely diverse group of patients has been treated by continuous catheter suction and periodic saline irrigation, entirely omitting antibiotic administration. Results have been so striking that this report seems warranted.

To ensure wound healing, dead space must be obliterated, and the wound must be kept continuously free of

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