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Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery:
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The Use of Vacuum-Assisted Closure Therapy for the Treatment of Lower-Extremity Wounds with Exposed Bone.

DeFranzo, A. J. M.D.; Argenta, L. C. M.D.; Marks, M. W. M.D.; Molnar, J. A. M.D., Ph.D.; David, L. R. M.D.; Webb, L. X. M.D.; Ward, W. G. M.D.; Teasdall, R. G. M.D.

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Abstract

: Lower-extremity wounds with exposed tendon, bone, or orthopedic hardware present a difficult treatment challenge. In this series of patients, subatmospheric pressure therapy was applied to such lower-extremity wounds. Seventy-five patients with lower-extremity wounds, most of which were the result of trauma, were selected for this study. Dressings made of sterile open-cell foam with embedded fenestrated tubing were contoured to the wound size and placed into the wound. The site was covered with an adhesive plastic sheet. The sheet was placed beneath any external fixation devices, or the fixation device was enclosed within the sheet. The tubing was connected to the vacuum-assisted closure pump. Continuous subatmospheric suction pressure (125 mmHg) was applied to the wound site. The wounds were inspected and the dressings were changed every 48 hours.

Vacuum-assisted closure therapy greatly reduced the amount of tissue edema, diminishing the circumference of the extremity and thus decreasing the surface area of the wound. Profuse granulation tissue formed rapidly, covering bone and hardware. The wounds were closed primarily and covered with split-thickness skin grafts, or a regional flap was rotated into the granulating bed to fill the defect. Successful coverage was obtained without complication in 71 of 75 patients. Wounds have been stable from 6 months up to 6 years. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 108: 1184, 2001.)

(C)2001American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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