NPWT acts in different ways to promote wound healing. The wound is subject to suction that propagates through the wound filler to the wound bed. This suction drains exudate from the wound and creates a mechanical force in the wound edges that results in changes in tissue perfusion, angiogenesis, and the formation of granulation tissue.
Although NPWT has remarkable effects on wound healing, complications have been reported, including pain during therapy and upon dressing change, ingrowth of tissue into the wound filler, and ischemia in poorly perfused wounds. One aim of this project is to examine how NPWT can be applied at different levels of negative pressure and using different pressure modalities (continuous or intermittent, with different kinds of wound fillers, e.g. foam or gauze) in order to minimize complications.
Other complications in NPWT include damage to, and rupture of, organs that may be exposed in the wounds, i.e. the heart and lungs in sternotomy wounds, and large arteries in vascular surgery wounds. The other aim of the project is to develop medical devices that can protect exposed organs during NPWT.