Negative pressure wound therapy is a new innovation in treating severe and complex wounds in children that decreases the need for frequent and stressful dressing changes. A new study in Wound Repair and Regeneration shows that this technique has a wide range of applications with children, and can be life-saving.
"This wound therapy is usually delivered via a vacuum system which applies negative suction pressure to the wound base through a sponge sealed to the wound by an adherent drape," says study senior author Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye. "The system accelerates wound contraction, decreases wound and tissue swelling, increases local microcirculation, provides a closed, moist healing environment and stimulates the formation of granulation tissue, an important indicator of healing tissue."
Ninety-three percent of the children given the treatment showed decreased wound volume, and the average amount of wound closure was 80 percent. "This is very good news for children with large and complex wounds, such as abdominal wall defects or disrupted surgical wounds," says Dr. Olutoye. "Not only is the therapy very effective, but it eliminates the need for dozens of painful and frightening gauze dressing changes."
According to Dr. Olutoye, the therapy offers other benefits. Because the therapy is less painful, less pain medication may be required. In addition, the dressing is sturdy and guards against infection. It can even be worn on an outpatient basis, using smaller portable equipment.
Further research is needed, however, to ensure that the therapy is used effectively. "Additional studies may help to harness the benefits of this technology in this unique and vulnerable population," says Dr. Olutoye.