Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is a treatment that creates a negative pressure environment around a wound, in theory helping to remove excess fluid and debris while also improving circulation around the wound to promote healing.
The effectiveness of NPWT has been debated by various healthcare professionals and organizations, and evidence-based recommendations frequently come with stipulations on what types of wounds NPWT should and should not be used for, based on available research.
Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study on a randomized clinical trial that questioned if NPWT or standard wound dressing would result in less disability 12 months after sustaining an open fracture of the lower limb. The randomized study included 460 adults and found no statistically significant difference in self-rated disability between NPWT or standard wound dressing at 12 months after sustaining an open fracture of the lower limb.
Most evidence-based guidelines suggest using standard wound dressing prior to utilizing NPWT, and while NPWT can no longer be called experimental, it appears that more research is necessary to understand just exactly when it can be beneficial to patients.