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What is negative pressure wound therapy?

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Quick Answer

Negative pressure wound therapy uses negative pressure on an acute or chronic wound to remove fluids, exudates and infectious agents to promote enhanced healing, closure and recovery, according to Devon Medical Products. The treatment requires a vacuum source to create internal pressure inside the wound.

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Full Answer

Negative pressure wound therapy works on the healing principles of wound drainage that have a long medical history, explains Devon Medical Products. Reported uses of such medical practices date as far back as 600 B.C. Two hundred years afterward, the Greeks used heated copper bowls to create the vacuum source to enhance drainage. Research led to the development of other tools, such as suction cups and drainage canisters.

In the 1980s, products were developed that helped apply negative pressure to the wound bed, making drainage much more effective, says Devon Medical Products.. Suction methods that employed gauze dressing signalled further development in this technique.

These methods were tested for healing effectiveness in various scientific studies during this period, with significantly positive results, reports Devon Medical Products. The treatment has since become much more widely practiced. Advances in the design of the devices necessary for the application of negative pressure wound therapy have led to more portable systems that allow greater mobility for patients in recovery. Previous applications of negative pressure wound therapy required the patient to remain bedridden.

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