After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Understand the basics of negative-pressure wound therapy and practical uses of various vacuum-assisted closure dressings. 2. Understand the mechanisms of action of negative-pressure therapies and other important adjuncts, such as perfusion imaging. 3. Discuss the evidence for hyperbaric oxygen therapy in wound care.
Wound healing requires creating an environment that supports the healing process while decreasing inflammation and infection. Negative-pressure wound therapy has changed the way physicians manage acute and chronic wounds for more than 20 years. It contracts wound edges, removes exudate, including inflammatory and infectious material, and promotes angiogenesis and granulation tissue formation. These effects have been consistently demonstrated in multiple animal and human randomized controlled trials. Recent innovations that include instillation therapy and closed incision have further increased our arsenal against difficult-to-treat wounds and incisions at high risk of complications. Instillation of topical wound solutions allows physicians to cleanse the wound without return to the operating room, resulting in fewer debridements, shorter hospital stays, and faster time to wound closure. Other concepts have yielded negative-pressure therapy on top of closed surgical incisions, which holds incision edges together, reduces edema, promotes angiogenesis, and creates a barrier to protect incisions during the critical healing period, thereby reducing surgical-site complications, especially infection. Other practical adjuncts to the modern-day treatment of acute and chronic wounds include indocyanine green angiography, which allows real-time assessment of perfusion, and hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which has been suggested to augment healing in acute, chronic, specifically diabetic foot ulcers and radiation-related wounds.