Negative pressure therapy, the application of vacuum technology for wound care, is helping thousands of people cut down their risk of post-surgical infection.
A scary 1 in 20 surgical patients experience post- surgical infections, as reported by Daily Mail. In a clinical trial with over 200 volunteers, vacuum-assisted treatment cut the risk of infection and wound re-opening by 50 percent.
By drawing in blood to the wound or incision site, negative pressure therapy speeds the healing of cells and helps prevent infection from taking hold. The suction power also pulls away excess fluid and pus, cleaning out any foreign objects which might prove problematic. People who heal
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faster start moving on their own faster, something doctors claim is vital to a speedy and uneventful recovery.
The healing method is made practical by the use of a PICO machine. In the hospital setting, this large vacuum made of sterile drapes, dressings, and suction tubes is heavy and bulky, and most people in need of the treatment must remain hospitalized. A smaller version, which still requires the use of a backpack, was the only alternative if someone wanted to perform the therapy at home. Because most of the individuals with wound issues are elderly, large, bulky equipment—even in a backpack—wasn’t reasonable.
Thanks to the company Smith & Nephew, a smaller negative pressure PICO machine is now available for at-home use.
The lighter and less expensive unit uses absorbent gel pads for fluid removal and storage rather than a large canister. The pads hold approximately 300 milliliters of fluid and last about a week, depending on the size of the wound.
Kathy Leak, a medical professional at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been using the new machine for the last 9 months. “Negative pressure creates the ideal environment for wound healing,” she said. “However, until recently, it was only used in hospitals because the equipment was so heavy. The new device means more patients can benefit from the therapy.”
The PICO machine is being used to treat issues like diabetic foot ulcers, hip surgical sites, and breast surgical sites. Ideally, it is used in any hard-to-reach place or for areas where incisions are close to joints.
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