Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy for Ludwig’s Angina: A Case Series

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Negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is a well-established therapeutic approach for various complex wound classes. There is currently limited information on the use of NPWT for the scope of head and neck wounds. However, NPWT has been used successfully in some cases, including malignancy, infection, and trauma. In West Virginia, the incidence of dental-related infections leading to Ludwig’s Angina is high due to lack of access to dental care. Our case series describes the application of vacuum-based therapy in conjunction with antibiotic therapy for quick, effective closure of deep tissue infections before definitive complex wound repair via graft and flap reconstructions. Over a period of 3 months, 2 patients with submental infections extending to the lateral neck demonstrated clean, efficient wound closure with NPWT for less than 14 days while hospitalized at West Virginia University Medicine. Outpatient follow-up with these patients demonstrated excellent cosmetic outcomes with minimal contracture or hypertrophy of healing tissue. NPWT promotes wound healing through decreased edema, improved perfusion, and increased granulation of tissue based on our findings. Our series encourages the use of NPWT for initial closure of complex wounds secondary to deep neck infections.

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