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Negative Pressure

June 14, 2007

Vacuums don’t only clean carpets. They can help wounds heal, too.


How suction can shorten hospital stays. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A vacuum cleaner-like device may make children’s hospital stays easier. This according to pediatric surgeon Oluyinka Olutoye of the Baylor College of Medicine. He and his colleagues studied children recovering from messy injuries and sores, or complicated surgeries. They found that applying constant suction to a wound through a specialized, airtight dressing not only promoted healing, but also reduced the need for painful and scary-looking bandage changes.

OLUYINKA OLUTOYE (Baylor College of Medicine):
So many times, the dressing changes are actually very difficult situations for those children, that they need to be medicated at times to keep them calm and reduce the pain.

The suction technique is already used in adults, but this study suggests that it’s safe and effective for children and even newborns. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.