Management of orocutaneous fistulas using a vacuum-assisted closure system

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The vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) system has been used to manage complicated wounds. The purpose of this study was to describe a novel technique in using the VAC system for orocutaneous fistulas.


A retrospective study was performed on 10 patients treated at the National Cancer Centre, Singapore, who developed postoperative orocutaneous fistulas. Hydrogum dental paste was used as a sealant together with the VAC system to close the fistulas. We used either the RENASYS or VAC ATS system with 50 mm Hg to 125 mm Hg continuous suction.


The 10 patients developed 11 fistulas. The median age of this cohort was 67 years (range, 33–80 years). Nine patients had successful closure of their fistulas with VAC therapy whereas 1 patient had unsuccessful VAC therapy and required flap reconstruction. The median time to fistula closure was 19 days (range, 6–36 days). The median time to radiotherapy after surgery was 46 days (range, 26–62 days).


VAC therapy is an effective treatment option for orocutaneous fistulas. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 873–881, 2014

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