Wet wound healing

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Dec;110(7):1680-7. doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000033181.56887.61.


Wound treatment in a flexible transparent chamber attached to the perimeter of the wound and containing a liquid has been extensively tested in preclinical experiments in pigs and found to offer several advantages. It protects the wound; the liquid medium or saline in the chamber provides in vivo tissue culture-like conditions; and antibiotics, analgesics, and various molecules can be delivered to the wound through the chamber. The wound chamber causes no injury to the wound itself or to the surrounding intact skin. Topical delivery of, for instance, antibiotics can provide very high concentrations at the wound site and with a favorable direction of the concentration gradient. A series of 28 wounds in 20 patients were treated with a wound chamber containing saline and antibiotics. Most patients had significant comorbidity and had not responded to conservative or surgical management with débridement and delayed primary closure or skin grafts. Six wounds had foreign bodies present; four of these were joint prostheses. Seven patients were on corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and four patients had diabetes. Most patients were treated with the wound chamber in preparation for a delayed skin graft or flap procedure, but one was treated with a wound chamber until the wound healed. Twenty-five of the wounds (89 percent) healed, and five wounds (18 percent) required additional conservative management after the initial chamber treatment and grafting procedure. Of the three wounds that did not heal, one healed after additional chamber treatment, one had a skin graft that did not take, and one required reamputation at a higher level. Antibiotic delivery was less than one intravenous dose daily, which avoided the potential for systemic absorption to toxic levels. Antibiotics such as vancomycin and gentamicin could be used in concentrations of up to 10,000 times the minimal inhibitory concentration. Forty-eight hours after application, 20 percent or more of the original antibiotic concentration was present in the wound chamber fluid. In conclusion, the wound chamber provides a safe, powerful tool in the treatment of difficult infected wounds.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bandages*
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Surgical Wound Infection / therapy*
  • Wound Healing*