VAC therapy as wound treatment

VAC therapy is a method of treating wounds using a special vacuum pump. There are various indications for starting VAC therapy, but what does VAC actually stand for and when is this therapy applied?

What is a wound?

Skin consists of several layers, namely the outer layer. The outer layer consists of the epidermis. The inner layer is the dermis. A wound involves damage to the continuity of the tissue. A wound consists of different phases.

Wound stages

  • Necrotic phase: death of tissue.
  • Debridement phase: removal of dead or damaged tissue.
  • Fibrin slough phase: an insoluble protein (yellow slough) has formed, which is formed during the blood clotting process.
  • Granulation phase: the wound fills with new, temporary tissue.
  • Epithelilization phase: the wound starts to close because the wound edges slowly grow towards each other and the wound is covered again with ‘normal’ epithelial tissue.
  • Maceration phase: maceration is caused by prolonged exposure to moisture. This can complicate wound healing.
  • Angiogenesis phase: This phase begins the process in which the growth of new blood vessels occurs from existing blood vessels.


What is VAC therapy?

VAC stands for Vacuum Assisted Closure. VAC therapy is applied to heal wounds using the VAC pump. The treatment is a method in which the pump exerts negative pressure in the wound, allowing faster wound healing. The therapy can be applied to different types of wounds. The VAC system consists of foam. It is important that the foam is cut exactly to the size of the wound and that cavities are also filled. The foam should not be stuck to unaffected skin. The hose is applied to the foam. The hose and foam are then sealed airtight with a foil, after which the foam is vacuumed. The pump pulls the wound edges together. The dressing should be changed every 48 to 72 hours. A cup is attached to the pump. The wound fluid is collected in this.

When is VAC therapy used?

VAC therapy can be applied to various wounds. For example, VAC therapy can be applied to:

  • acute wounds (traumatic or surgical wounds)
  • chronic wounds (decubitus, diabetic foot, ulcers)
  • other wounds, such as burns, amputations, abscesses and skin grafts



indications for applying VAC therapy include;

  • an open abdomen
  • postoperative wound in diabetic foot
  • for decubitus wounds (pressure sores)
  • open leg
  • in case of a wound resulting from acute and traumatic wounds
  • wounds due to vascular pathology


Contraindications are

  • wounds with necrotic tissue, which have crusted formation
  • exposed blood vessels or organs
  • In the case of osteomyelitis, it must be treated first
  • fistulas to organs and body cavities


The pros and cons

The advantages:

  • there is a greater chance of rapid wound healing
  • wound dressings need to be changed less often (approximately every 2 to 3 days)
  • There is less chance of infection and less odor nuisance because the wound is completely taped
  • it is more hygienic


The cons:

  • removing the bandage can sometimes be painful
  • Changing the bandage often takes a little more time
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