Micro- and Macromechanical Effects on the Wound Bed of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Using Gauze and Foam

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Abstract

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) results in 2 types of tissue deformation, macrodeformation (ie, wound contraction) and microdeformation (ie, the interaction of tissue and dressing on a microscopic level). These effects have been delineated for one type of wound filler, foam, but not for gauze. The mechanical deformation initiates a signaling cascade which ultimately leads to wound healing. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of gauze and foam on macro- and microdeformation during treatment with negative pressure.

An in vivo porcine peripheral wound model was used. NPWT was applied for 72 hours at 0, −75, and −125 mm Hg, using either foam or gauze as wound filler. The mechanical effects of NPWT were examined by measuring the wound surface area reduction and by histologic analysis of the wound bed tissue.

Similar degrees of wound contraction (macrodeformation) were seen during NPWT regardless if foam or gauze was used. After negative pressure had been discontinued, the wound stayed contracted. There was no difference in wound contraction between −75 and −125 mm Hg. Biopsies of the wound bed revealed a repeating pattern of wound surface undulations and small tissue blebs (“tissue mushrooms”) were pulled into the pores of the foam dressing and the spaces between the threads in the gauze dressing (microdeformation). This pattern was obvious in wounds treated both with foam and gauze, at atmospheric pressure (0 mm Hg) as well as at subatmospheric pressures (−75 and −125 mm Hg).

The degrees of micro- and macrodeformation of the wound bed are similar after NPWT regardless if foam or gauze is used as wound filler.

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