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Negative Pressure Therapy on Primarily Closed Wounds Improves Wound Healing Parameters at 3 Days in a Porcine Model

Meeker, James MD; Weinhold, Paul PhD; Dahners, Laurence MD

doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e318211363a
Original Article

Objectives: We investigated the role of negative pressure therapy (NPT) in postoperative primary wound treatment and closure. To date, extensive evidence exists demonstrating the benefit of negative pressure dressings in the treatment of open wounds; our experiment tested the hypothesis that negative pressure dressings improve healing of closed (sutured) wounds.

Methods: A porcine model was used to collect data on the characteristics of closed wounds after 3 days of treatment with NPTs as compared with control dressings.

Results: In six pigs with a total of 56 wounds, load to failure (N/mm) in controls was 0.348 (standard deviation [SD] 0.109) versus NPT at 0.470 (SD, 0.194) with a P value of 0.001; energy to failure (mJ/mm) in controls was 0.85 (SD, 0.378) versus NPT at 1.128 (SD, 0.638) with a P value of 0.035. Blinded grading of clinical wound appearance and cross-sectional hematoma size were also improved at 72 hours.

Conclusions: NPT dressings applied to surgically closed wounds enhance the healing characteristics of porcine wounds at 3 days.

Clinical Relevance: We have observed that primarily closed surgical wounds may benefit from treatment with NPT. The benefit of using NPTs may be most pronounced in situations in which wounds are closed under tension, involve considerable soft tissue trauma, or may be at risk of subdermal hematoma formation.

From the Department of Orthopaedics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.

Accepted for January 19, 2011.

The study was funded entirely with a $10,000 Resident Research Grant from the Orthopaedic Trauma Association.

Reprints: James Meeker, MD, Department of Orthopaedics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, 3147 Bioinformatics, CB #7055, Chapel Hill, NC 37599-7055 (e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.