Negative Pressure Wound Therapy

What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy?

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy is an effective system that applies controlled pressure to the wound site to promote wound healing. This technique has been used effectively to treat different types of wounds for years. Tissue viability nurses and doctors have found this therapy to be more effective than conventional dressings.

How does it work?

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy promotes wound healing by stimulating granulation tissue growth. It also reduced any surrounding swelling, removes infectious material, enhances blood flow and provides a closed, moist wound healing environment. All of these benefits will improve your patient’s quality of life.

How is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy applied?

A piece of foam or gauze is cut and shaped to the size of the wound by the qualified practitioner. The foam or gauze is then secured with a film drape. Then a small hole is made in the film drape with scissors and a transfer pad is applied and the tubing is connected to the canister of the Topical Negative Pressure pump. Topical Negative Pressure pump is then set to the correct negative pressure setting. The system will be turned on by the qualified practitioner. The foam or gauze will then appear to be compressed to fit the wound as the therapy commences.

How often is the dressing changed?

Routine dressing changes should occur every 48 hours, but this is at the discretion of the qualified practitioner. Some wounds may require more frequent dressing changes.

How often is the canister changed?

The canister is changed when full with exudate, or at a minimum of 7 days, whichever is the first.

When will the Negative Pressure Wound Therapy be discontinued?

NPWT is finished when the goal of therapy has been met. In some cases the therapy will be stopped after the wound has fully healed, in other cases the consultant may opt for the wound to be sutured (stitched). Each individual’s circumstances and qualified practitioner will discuss the step of treatment with you.

What happens if I refuse negative pressure wound therapy?

You have the choice of treatment. If you refuse this treatment you will be treated with conventional dressings which will treat your wound, but will take a longer period of time compared to the NPWT.


Prior to application we will require your consent, as well as the consent of the Consultant or General Practitioner whose care you are under.


Simply put, you will notice a quick improvement to your wound/ulcer. It helps the wound to heal faster than with conventional dressings. It may be available to you even if you discharged from hospital. There are no significant risks or adverse events that are linked to the use of NPWT.


The pump is big and heavy, so you will need assistance to carry this, but the qualified nurse will regularly review your needs and can put you onto a smaller, portable pump when appropriate.