Wound Vacuum Assisted Closure (VAC) System
Have you seen those bags where you stuff your sweaters in and use a vacuum hose to suck the air out? It helps compact the bulk so you can store them more easily. Vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy does a similar thing for wounds and incisions. It removes excess blood and fluid, reduces swelling, and pulls the edges of the wound closer together so it can heal more easily. Suction for incisions has been used for a couple of decades in hospitals during surgical procedures to remove excess fluid and speed healing. The procedure has undergone sophisticated adaptations. Now, the VAC system is used for many situations in a wide variety of locations, including at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates in New York for wound care.
Negative Pressure—Positive Results
The VAC system combines a special foam dressing and negative pressure (suction or vacuum) to promote healing in open wounds. A piece of the open-celled foam is cut to shape and inserted into the open area, and a drain with several holes is placed on top of it. The whole area is sealed with a transparent plastic membrane to form a partial vacuum of the wound or incision. The foam protects vulnerable tissue and evens out the negative pressure over the entire wound, while the drain suctions blood, fluid, and debris out though the foam. It also reduces the volume of the wound and makes it easier for the edges to heal, be stitched, or have skin grafts applied.
There is evidence that the procedure also increases blood flow to the area by promoting the growth of new vessels, in turn decreasing the level of bacteria. It also appears that the disturbance of the cells causes them to increase their rate of growth. All of these effects bring about quicker healing to the tissues.
How the VAC System Can Help Heal Your Feet
In treating feet and ankles, our expert podiatrists often deal with open wounds like diabetic ulcers, pressure sores, and incisions from any surgical procedures we need to perform. After we debride any extraneous tissue and get rid of any debris, vacuum-assisted closure helps remove extra fluids and shrink the wound area. Smaller wounds heal faster and less fluid means less swelling and better blood flow. It also means less chance for bacteria to be present and grow into an infection.
The negative pressure is applied at a set level, and intermittently—five minutes on, two minutes off. These methods seem to be the most effective at allowing the body to develop the granulation tissue needed to heal the wound.
If you have a wound on your foot that will not heal or are contemplating foot surgery of some type, talk to the experts at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates about the VAC system and how it might apply to your care. Dr. Hal Abrahamson and Dr. Daniel E. Orozco are experts at wound care and will provide the answers you need. Call our Rego Park office at (718) 896-4433, Flushing office at (718) 969-2266, and our Plainview location at (516) 822-9595. We want to help return your feet to health and stability, so you can enjoy your life fully.