Massive (≥100 cm2) venous leg ulcers (VLUs) demonstrate very low closure rates with standard compression therapy and are costly to manage. Negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT), followed by a split-thickness skin graft (STSG), can be a cost-effective alternative to this standard care. We performed a cost analysis of these two treatments.Methods:
A retrospective review was performed of 10 ulcers treated with surgical debridement, 7 days of inpatient NPWT with topical antiseptic instillation (NPWTi), and STSG, with 4 additional days of inpatient NPWT bolster over the graft. Independent medical cost estimators were used to compare the cost of this treatment protocol with standard outpatient compression therapy.Results:
The average length of time ulcers were present before patients entered the study was 38 months (range, 3–120 months). Eight of 10 patients had complete VLU closure by 6 months after NPWTi with STSG. The 6-month costs of the proposed treatment protocol and standard twice-weekly compression therapy were estimated to be $27,000 and $28,000, respectively.Conclusions:
NPWTi with STSG treatment is more effective for closure of massive VLUs at 6 months than that reported for standard compression therapy. Further, the cost of the proposed treatment protocol is comparable with standard compression therapy.