Effects of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy on Healing of Free Full-Thickness Skin Grafts in Dogs


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo compare healing of free, full-thickness, meshed skin grafts under negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) with bolster dressings in dogs.Study designRandomized, controlled experimental study, paired design.AnimalsDogs (n = 5)MethodsFull-thickness skin wounds (4 cm × 1.5 cm) were created bilaterally on the antebrachia of 5 dogs (n = 10). Excised skin was grafted to the contralateral limb. Grafts were randomized to NPWT or bolster dressings (control; CON). NPWT was applied continuously for 7 days. Grafts were evaluated on Days 2, 4, 7, 10, 14, and 17, biopsied on days 0, 4, 7, and 14, and had microbial culture on Day 7. Outcome variables were: time to first appearance of granulation tissue, percent graft necrosis, and percent open mesh. Significance was set at P < .05. Histologic findings, culture results, and graft appearance were reported.ResultsGranulation tissue appeared earlier in the NPWT grafts compared with CON grafts. Percent graft necrosis and remaining open mesh area were both greater in CON grafts compared with NPWT grafts at most time points. Histologic results showed no significant difference in all variables measured, and all cultures were negative.ConclusionsVariables of graft acceptance were superior when NPWT was used in the first week post-grafting. Fibroplasia was enhanced, open meshes closed more rapidly and less graft necrosis occurred with NPWT application. More preclinical studies are required to evaluate histologic differences.

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