When your vascular system is compromised by aging, disease or diabetes, your body’s ability to heal an open wound is also impaired. The slightest of injuries that breaks the skin, even a scratch or split, can result in a chronic wound that grows in size. A surgical incision that cannot be closed, or one that opens during recovery, can lead to dangerous infections.
In these cases, your Vascular Specialists medical professional may prescribe a Wound VAC, or Vacuum Assisted Closure. A wound VAC can be used on nearly any part of the body – legs, chest, abdomen and more.
Simply, a wound VAC removes uses a vacuum to remove blood and fluid from an opening in the body that needs to heal. Removing the fluid means removing bacteria from the wound site to lower your risk of infection and reduce swelling. The negative pressure of the vacuum gently dilates the blood vessels, pulling more nutrient-rich, cell-building blood to the site. Together, the removal of fluid and the enrichment of blood flow, along with maintaining a warm and moist environment, combine to help your body form new connective granulation tissue to close your wound.
Before we begin wound VAC therapy, your wound will need to be completely debrided. We’ll remove all dead and infected tissue from your wound site, ensuring the area is as clean and bacteria-free as possible.
We’ll cover your wound with a piece of medical foam cut to the size and shape of your wound. We’ll place a drain, a plastic tube, on top of the foam. We’ll then cover the whole area with a thin clear dressing, securing it about 1-1/2” into your healthy skin around your wound. The drain tubing is then attached to the small vacuum. This vacuum may drain the fluid constantly or may drain in on/off cycles.
You’ll wear your wound VAC, staying connected to the machine itself, about 22 hours each day. Depending upon the condition of your wound, your dressing may be changed every 24 to 72 hours. The canister that collects the fluid should be changed when it’s about 2/3 full, or at least once a week.
Wound VAC therapy will speed the healing of all types of wounds; acute, subacute or chronic. Large chronic wounds could take 16 to 20 weeks of wound VAC therapy to completely heal.
You can help your healing process. If you smoke, ask us to help you quit immediately. Drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and lean meats. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and add a nap whenever possible.
When you have been recommended for wound VAC therapy or have any questions about this treatment, please call us at 815-824-4406. We want to be sure you understand why this is being prescribed, how it will work and any risks involved. Your Vascular Specialists medical professional will listen carefully and give you thorough answers.
NOTE: The photograph above is a sample of a typical wound VAC. It may not represent the VAC used in your therapy.