It may sound strange, but for people who's wounds won't heal a vacuum may help. Vacuum Assisted Closure or VAC therapy creates an environment that helps deep sores heal faster.
Nurse Judy Van Wyhe is demonstrating VAC therapy on this mannequin. She spends most of her time putting on rubber gloves do this for patients. She inserts sponge-like material into a clean wound, and then seals it tight. "It provides a negative pressure inside of the wound and that helps develop circulation and helps draw away excess fluids that we want to get away from the wound," said Dr. Johnson. A small hole is cut in the top of the dressing and a tube is inserted. That tube, connected to a VAC Therapy machine, sucks out the air providing that negative pressure to the wound. "It can help close wounds 3 to 4 times faster than just saline type dressings," said Dr. Paul Johnson.
And that's good news for patients like Mike Patterson of Sloan, Iowa. Mike has had several surgeries on his abdomen over the years, but the one in March left him with an incision that just wouldn't heal. That's when he got hooked up with VAC Therapy. "There's no pain, at all. It's just a nuisance, like carrying a purse," said Mike Patterson. Mike carries around a portable unit and comes in to have the dressings changed three times a week. After two months of therapy, "90-percent of it's already healed," said Mike. Meaning his skin should look like new, very soon.
Dr. Paul Johnson at Mercy Medical Center's Wound Care Center says VAC Therapy is beneficial for several types of deep wounds, including post-surgery incisions, pressure sores, as well as traumatic and chronic wounds. He says the sooner a patient is able to get on the therapy after the wound develops, the faster that area will heal completely.
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