Vacuum-assisted closure: a new method for wound control and treatment: animal studies and basic foundation

Ann Plast Surg. 1997 Jun;38(6):553-62. doi: 10.1097/00000637-199706000-00001.


A series of basic animal studies using a new subatmospheric pressure technique (The V.A.C.) to expedite wound healing are presented. The technique entails placing an open-cell foam into the wound, sealing the site with an adhesive drape, and applying subatmospheric pressure (125 mmHg below ambient) that is transmitted to the wound in a controlled manner. Utilizing a pig model, four studies were undertaken to determine the effect of subatmospheric pressure on laser Doppler-measured blood flow in the wound and adjacent tissue (N = 5), rate of granulation tissue formation (N = 10), clearance of bacteria from infected wounds (N = 5), and measurement of nutrient flow by random-pattern flap survival (N = 5). Blood flow levels increased fourfold when 125 mmHg subatmospheric pressure was applied. Significantly increased rates of granulation tissue formation (p < or = 0.05) occurred with both continuous (63.3 +/- 26.1%) and intermittent (103% +/- 35.3%) application. Tissue bacterial counts significantly decreased (p < or = 0.05) after 4 days of application. Random-pattern flap survival significantly increased (p < or = 0.05) by 21% compared to controls. We determined that the application of controlled subatmospheric pressure creates an environment that promotes would healing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Bandages
  • Granulation Tissue / blood supply
  • Granulation Tissue / pathology
  • Humans
  • Polyurethanes
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / pathology
  • Surgery, Plastic / instrumentation*
  • Surgical Flaps / pathology
  • Swine
  • Tissue Survival / physiology
  • Vacuum
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Polyurethanes
  • polyurethane foam