Vacuum-Assisted Closure Therapy

Vacuum-assisted closure therapy uses a device that removes fluid and germs from wounds to help them heal. It is used on wounds that cannot be closed with stitches. They often heal slowly. Vacuum-assisted therapy helps the wound stay clean and healthy while the open wound slowly grows back together.

Vacuum-assisted closure therapy uses a bandage (dressing) that is made of foam. It is put inside the wound. Then, a drape is placed over the wound. This drape sticks to your skin to keep air out. A tube is hooked up to a small pump and is attached to the drape. The pump sucks out the fluid and germs. Vacuum-assisted closure therapy can also help reduce the bad smell that comes from the wound.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The vacuum pump pulls fluid through the foam dressing. The fluid goes into the tube and away from the wound. The fluid then goes into a container. The fluid in the container must be replaced if it is full or at least once a week, even if the container is not full. The pulling from the pump helps to close the wound and bring better circulation to the wound area.  The foam dressing covers and protects the wound. It helps your wound heal faster.

HOW DOES IT FEEL?

  • You might feel a little pulling when the pump is on.

  • You might feel some discomfort when the dressing is taken off.

CAN I MOVE AROUND WITH VACUUM-ASSISTED CLOSURE THERAPY?

Yes, it has a backup battery which is used when the machine is not plugged in, as long as the battery is working, you can move freely.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS I MUST KNOW?

  • Do not turn off the pump yourself.

  • Do not take off the dressing yourself, unless instructed to do so by your caregiver.

  • You can wash or shower with the dressing. However, you cannot take the pump into the shower. Make sure the wound dressing is protected and covered with plastic. The wound area must stay dry.

  • Do not turn off the pump for more than 2 hours. If the pump is off for more than 2 hours, your nurse must change your dressing.

THE ALARM IS SOUNDING! WHAT SHOULD I DO?

  • Stay calm.

  • Ask your caregiver what to do if the alarm goes off, she will give you instructions of what to do.

  • Call your caregiver right away if the alarm goes off and you cannot fix the problem.

WHEN SHOULD I CALL FOR HELP?

  • You have very bad pain.

  • You have bleeding that will not stop.

  • Your wound smells bad.

  • You have redness, swelling, or fluid leaking from your wound.

  • Your alarm goes off and you do not know what to do.

  • You have a fever.

  • Your wound itches or hurts.

  • Your dressing changes are often painful or bleeding often occurs.

  • You have diarrhea.

  • You have a sore throat.

  • You have a rash.

  • You feel nauseous.

  • You feel dizzy or weak.

HOW DO I GET READY TO GO HOME WITH A PUMP?

A trained caregiver will talk to you and answer your questions about your vacuum-assisted closure therapy before you go home. She will explain what to expect. A caregiver will also come to your home to apply the pump and care for your wound. The at home caregiver will also be available for questions and will come back for the scheduled dressing changes as well as if you are having a problem.  If you have questions or do not know what to do when you go home, talk to your caregiver.