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J Surg Res. 2013 Sep;184(1):658-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.05.056. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Negative pressure wound therapy in infants and children: a single-institution experience.

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Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.



Information regarding the use of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) in the pediatric population is limited. Because of adverse outcomes in adult patients, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2011 about the use of NPWT in infants and children.


We performed an institutional review board-approved, single-institution, retrospective review of pediatric patients who had undergone NPWT from 2007-2011. We collected the types of wounds for which NPWT was initiated, the NPWT outcomes, and the complications encountered.


The data from 290 consecutive patients were reviewed. Their average age was 9.3 y (range 12 d to 18 y), and their average weight was 46.5 kg (range 1.1-177). Of the wounds, 66% were classified as acute, 10% as chronic, and 24% as traumatic. The two most common indications were surgical wound dehiscence (n = 47) and skin grafting (n = 41). NPWT was used in 15 wounds containing surgical hardware, with 2 devices requiring eventual removal. NPWT was used for a median of 9 d per patient (two dressing changes). Complications occurred in 5 patients (1.7%). Documentation problems were noted in 44 patients. After NPWT, about one-third of the patients (n = 95 patients) were able to undergo delayed primary closure.


NPWT is an effective adjunct in wound healing and closure in the pediatric population, with no mortality ascribed to NPWT. Also, the complication rates were low.


Abdominal wounds; Infants; Negative pressure wound therapy; Neonatal; Surgery; Wound healing

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