Advances in modern medicine have greatly reduced the toll that surgical procedures take on the human body. One of the most recent and promising advancements in the field of surgical recovery has been negative pressure wound therapy. There can be no question that healthcare costs have risen in recent years, making extended hospital stays after surgical procedures highly undesirable for both patients and hospitals. This fact, coupled with a desire to return to daily routines and work quickly, has made negative pressure treatments for surgically repaired wounds increasingly appealing. For many patients, negative pressure wound therapy can help facilitate a speedy recovery and return to normalcy in their life.
Negative pressure wound therapy works by applying a special dressing to the site of the wound or surgical incision. This dressing seals the wound, allowing negative pressure to be applied to the area, stimulating blood flow while keeping the site clear of foreign matter, thereby decreasing likelihood of infection. Should the healing process require a dry site, wound therapy can decrease the level of fluid at the site compared to standard dressing, by both decreasing the inherent fluid produced by the wound, as well as siphoning it away with a vacuum. In other cases, negative pressure implements can actually purposefully irrigate the area with saline or antibiotics solution to stimulate recovery and fight infection. Negative pressure wound therapy has shown efficacy in a variety of conditions, including fractures, surgical incisions, diabetic ulcers, and moderate to severe burns.
In a 2006 clinical trial by the Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection and Critical Care, 44 patients were randomized into 2 separate trials. Some patients received negative pressure wound therapy while others received conventional wound dressings. The aim of these trials were to test the efficacy of negative pressure treatments on both draining hematomas and tibia fractures. With hematomas, the group receiving negative pressure wound therapy saw a nearly 50% decrease in both the length of drainage of the wound (3.1 vs 1.6 days), as well as the rate of infection of the area (16% vs 8%). Similarly, in the tibia fracture trial, the patients receiving negative pressure therapy saw a substantial increase in the length of time of drainage (4.8 days vs 1.8). As can be seen in this trial, negative pressure wound therapy can shave entire days off of even the most optimistic recovery time utilizing conventional wound dressing post-surgery.
Stays in the hospital can be physically and emotionally taxing on both patients and their families. Not only that, they can place immense professional and monetary strain on people already placed into a stressful situation by injury or illness, both through medical costs and loss of work and livelihood. Any avenue toward making hospital stays shorter and less costly should be considered by all patients who qualify for negative pressure wound therapy. Talk to your doctor today to see if this treatment could facilitate your post-operative recovery, and contact Aeroflow Healthcare to assist you with all your negative pressure wound therapy needs.