Journal articlesNegative pressure wound therapy: from ‘lip service’ to a billion dollar patent feud

Negative pressure wound therapy: from ‘lip service’ to a billion dollar patent feud

09/11/16 | Articles | Edward White

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT): mention it to clinicians and they’ll tell you it is an effective technique for removing exudate, facilitating and accelerating tissue granulation, and even altering the bacterial population of the wound bed (Mouës et al, 2004). Mention NPWT to non-medical individuals and you’ll most likely be met with raised eyebrows and disbelief. Applying suction to a wound? Bizarre! Those familiar with ancient medical history may be forgiven for recollecting the primitive cupping techniques used to rectify so-called imbalances in the humours, through the application of a hot glass to an area of punctured skin. But applying suction to an open wound? Where, and indeed how did this treatment modality come into being? How could it be known to be beneficial? Once again, from what can be discerned in the surviving literature, the answer is in ancient practices.