Wound Care. What is a V.A.C. Dressing?

V.A.C. is an abbreviation for Vacuum Assisted Closure®, a system for applying negative pressure to wounds, which is claimed to accelerate healing of chronic wounds.

What is the mechanism behind V.A.C.?

A foam sponge is placed into the wound, than the site is sealed with an adhesive drape, and negative pressure is applied to the wound for 22-24 hours daily.

V.A.C. decreases tissue edema and improves local circulation, it also removes the debris from the wound surface.

What is the cost of V.A.C. dressing?

The average cost, including the materials and nursing care, is $ 400 per patient for one week of treatment.

Online Education

The V.A.C. manufacturer in the U.S. is KCI and they have some useful information on their website, including:

- Free online courses for wound care - Flash-based to play in your browser

- Online video on how V.A.C. works and how to apply the dressing

- FAQ for V.A.C.

KCI Therapies
Vacuum-assisted closure: a new method for wound control and treatment: animal studies and basic foundation - Ann Plast Surg. 1997
AHRQ Evidence Report on V.A.C.
Effects of vacuum-assisted closure on wound microcirculation: an experimental study - Asian J Surg. 2005
V.A.C. Therapy - mcgill.ca/tau (PDF file)
Vacuum-assisted closure therapy. The Hospitalist, 5/2007, p. 39-41.
Image source: KCI


  1. My husband is in hospital, after having his big toe amputated. It did not heal and had to be debrided and severe infections were found - strep, staff and ecoli. He now has a woundvac treatment happening. Can you please tell me if the edges of the woud beyond the black covering should look healthy pink. I can see a much paler colour that doesn't look healthy. I am so worried. any information would be appreciated as to the process of the 'healing.'

  2. Your doctor and registered nurse are the best ones to answer this question. Pleas call and ask them.

  3. I think you should talk to his primary provider. The pale color indicated poor vascular supply and poor granualations. Wound care is an important step in the healing process after ampuation.


  4. My wife has a c section and had to be put on a wound VAC after they found MRSA. Her entire stomach along the c section has become very tender and painful to the touch. Is it possible that this is caused by the VAC?

  5. You must see a doctor. Nobody can answer a question like this without examining the patient.