Importance: Laboratory and clinical studies have shown that vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy increases wound blood flow and granulation tissue formation and decreases accumulation of fluid and bacteria. Many publications outline the use of VAC dressings in the treatment of sternal, sacral, upper and lower extremity, perineal, and abdominal wounds, but few describe its use in the head and neck region. No report to date has addressed the use of VAC therapy in helping to preserve facial nerve integrity.
Observations: We present a case of a 64-year-old woman who underwent tissue debridement for necrotizing fasciitis of the left face, neck, and upper chest. She subsequently had exposed facial nerve that was covered with a VAC dressing and demonstrated complete granulation by postoperative day 7 with preservation of function.
Conclusions and relevance: This case highlights the effectiveness of VAC in eliminating infectious material and promoting granulation tissue formation. This is the first time that VAC therapy has been shown to maintain neural function when placed directly on functioning cranial nerves.