Frequently Asked Questions About Wound Vacs & Wound Treatment
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"What is negative pressure wound therapy?"
Negative pressure wound therapy, or NPWT, is a commonly used modality (treatment) that helps increase blood flow to an area of the body and facilitate the growth of new tissue. It is a non-invasive, active therapy that helps speed the wound healing process.
"How much do wound vacs cost?"
The price of a wound vac depends upon a number of factors, including the type of device, as well as the number of dressing kits and/or canisters.
However, having said that, we are passionate about working with all our customers to provide the best pricing possible. Please contact us directly so we can discuss your situation and go over all available options for buying or renting wound vacs and supplies.
"Will my insurance company reimburse me if I buy or rent a wound vac?"
It depends. Wound vacs are usually reimbursable under most private insurance companies and through Medicare Part B. We accept Medicare and most major insurance carriers in most states. Please contact us for more information about wound vac costs and insurance coverage.
"How long will we need to use the wound vac before a wound heals?"
Results vary greatly by size, situation and type of wound. However, with proper use and monitoring of wound vacs, we find that many wounds heal within 4 - 6 weeks when using negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT).
“Does negative pressure wound therapy hurt?”
Most discomfort involved in wound care occurs during the cleaning of the wound and preparation of the wound bed and immediate area for the dressing. When the pump initially starts up and applies negative pressure to the wound, a patient may feel a slight pulling or contracting feeling.
“Will wound vac dressing changes hurt?”
Some people may experience slight discomfort during dressing changes, specifically during dressing removal and cleaning of the wound. The important thing is to let the nurse who is performing the dressing change know that there is pain and at what level. There are several techniques that nurses can employ that will aid in decreasing discomfort during negative pressure therapy. Patients should always inform the nurse if they are feeling pain or discomfort.
“Can you drive with a wound vac?”
The WoundPro® wound vac is totally portable and has a 36-hour battery life, as well as a stylish and discreet carrying bag. Regardless of the location of the wound, if patients are ambulatory enough to drive, then yes, they can drive with a wound vac.
Showering with a wound vac is more challenging as dressings should never be submerged in water; however, it is possible to clamp off the wound dressing, disconnect it from the wound vac and bathe. Doctors and/or home care nurses should discuss options carefully with patients.
“Can wound vacs be used to treat wounds in dogs and cats?”
Yes! Just as with human patients, negative pressure wound therapy can be used successfully to treat acute and complex wounds in pets including dogs, cats, horses and many other domestic animals. Learn more about our wound vacs for veterinarians.
“How long does the battery last on a wound vac?”
The battery life for the WoundPro® wound vac is approximately 36 hours.
“How long can the wound vac be turned off during treatment?”
The answer to this question varies greatly depending upon the patient and the wound, so patients should discuss this topic with their care provider. In general, the wound vac can be turned off for short periods as necessary (for instance, to change the collection canister, for bathing/showering or changing clothes, etc.). The proper procedure for shut-off is to engage the tubing clamp on the dressing itself first, thus sealing the dressing. Then the pump should be turned off or placed on standby and the canister tubing disconnected at the dressing. When ready to resume treatment, the steps should be done in the reverse order.
“What do I do if the wound vac alarm goes off?”
Virtually all NPWT devices have both visual and audible alarms. Most issues are easily resolved. For example:
Low power / battery: Plug the wound vac into a wall outlet and let it fully recharge.
Canister full: Clamp off the tubing at the dressing, pause the wound vac and change the canister. Then reconnect the canister to the tubing at the dressing, power the wound vac back on and release the clamp at the dressing tubing. If this does not correct the situation, contact a caregiver (if you are a patient) or healthcare supervisor.
Vacuum leak: This alarm sounds when the wound vac detects a vacuum leak that it cannot overcome on its own. Check to see if the canister is connected correctly and all tubing is securely fastened. Then check around the edges of the dressing, lightly pressing along the seal as you go. Pause the wound vac unit and then restart it. If this does not correct the issue, contact your caregiver or healthcare supervisor.
"Where can my staff get training on wound care treatment?"
Our founder, Scott Bergquist, offers licensed CEU courses on negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) for medical professionals and insurers across the United States. Courses are available for nursing staff, hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing and rehab facilities, insurance companies and equipment providers. Please contact us for more information.
"What types of wounds are wound vacs used for?"
Wound vacs are often used to treat acute or complex wounds, such as combat wounds or traumatic injuries, severe burns and skin grafts, amputations, full surgical and post-surgical (dehisced) wounds. They are also used to treat chronic problems such as Stage 3 and Stage 4 pressure ulcers (bedsores), diabetic ulcers and venous stasis ulcers.
“Can I treat more than one wound site with a wound vac?”
Yes. The Pensar WoundPro Uniflow Y connector allows for two separate sites to be connected to one device. The WoundPro® wound vac’s industry-leading pump design easily supports two wound sites at continuous, intermittent or variable intermittent pressures from 40 mmhg to 200 mmhg.
"What are the benefits of negative pressure wound therapy over other treatments?"
It helps maintain a moist, protective environment for wound healing
It removes excess fluids from the wound and surrounding area
It increases vascularity (blood flow) to the area
It decreases the chance of bacterial growth
It assists with proper wound drainage
It increases the rate of granulated tissue formation
It increases the rate of contraction (wound closure)
It increases the rate of epithelialization (new skin formation)
"What are some signs of healing during negative pressure wound therapy?"
When wound vacs are used properly and treatment progresses, the wound bed will begin to grow redder in color and ooze blood as tissue granulation occurs. There will be a gradual decrease in wound drainage and the size of the wound will begin to shrink.
"What size does your foam dressing for wound vacs come in?"
WoundPro® foam dressing comes in sizes ranging from 3.25” x 4” x 1” to 6.75” x 8.75” x 1”. All dressings used in our WoundPro® Kits consist of medical-grade foam that has been tested for biocompatibility and is certified to comply with the ISO-10993 protocol. View our pdf chart with more information.
“Is there a difference between gauze and foam wound dressings?”
Yes. Gauze was one of the original mediums used for negative pressure wound therapy, and is commonly referred to as a Chariker-Jeter dressing. Gauze is a proven, effective medium which retains a high level of moisture in the wound bed when used in conjunction with NPWT.
Black hydrophilic foam dressings are proven to provide more even pressure distribution across the wound bed, are considerably more porous and draw exudate away from the wound more efficiently.
“What’s the difference between black foam, white foam & silver foam?”
Pensar WoundPro® black foam dressings are hydrophobic or water repelling. The reticulated, open pore foam allows exudate to be removed and enables the dressing to conform to the wound bed, providing the foam-tissue interface. This design allows for increased distribution of negative pressure across the wound bed and stimulates tissue formation granulation.
Pensar’s white foam wound dressings are hydrophilic or moisture-retaining. White foam dressings are far less porous and are commonly used to fill tunnels and shallow undermining areas. White foam is also commonly used in the wound bed where there is exposed bone, tendon or surgical hardware. The moist white foam protects these sensitive areas and eases patient discomfort during dressing changes.
Pensar WoundPro® silver foam is a hydrophobic antimicrobial dressing that is recommended for use in wound beds exhibiting minor infection, or those at risk for infection – for example, in bite wounds from an animal.