What Materials Are Used in Negative Pressure Wound Therapy?

Negative Wound Pressure Therapy (NWPT) treats acute and chronic wounds including complex trauma wounds, pressure ulcers, skin grafts, burns, and other infected wounds. The therapy places a sealed dressing over a wound and a pump applies negative pressure creating a vacuum. Excess fluids are drawn away from the wound and the negative pressure promotes blood flow. The technique reduces the risk of infection by maintaining a clean and oxygen-rich environment at the wound site.

A Brief History Of Negative Wound Pressure Therapy

While this modern medical technique was developed in the late 20th century and continues to evolve, the history of using negative pressure to draw fluids away from wounds dates back for centuries. During Roman army campaigns, sucking healers used direct mouth suction. The trope of sucking poisonous wounds still persists in contemporary pop culture including snake bites that may originate with the legend of Cleopatra’s asps.

By the late 18th century, Dominique Anel developed a suction syringe with a triangular-tipped and wide-mouthed cannula to replace the unpleasant practice of human “wound suckers” for war wounds. Cupping emerged as a treatment including Gustav Bier’s hyperemic cups that included multiple sizes of glass cups and tubing to exhaust air. Natural leeching which grew tremendously throughout the early 19th century became a popular treatment for a range of maladies. Medicinal leeches and chemical leeches continue to be used as therapies for venous congestion and other conditions.

Modern NWPT System

The modern negative wound pressure therapy system was developed by Drs. Louis Argenta and Michael Morykwas of Wake Forest University School of Medicine at the end of the 20th century. The initial benefit of NWPT includes protecting the wound bed from external contaminants while drawing excess fluids away from the wound to reduce infection. The secondary benefit is promoting blood flow and healing to reduce healing time. Finally, as negative wound pressure therapy advanced further, patient comfort, mobility and confidence improved.

Throughout this century, technology has rapidly accelerated and innovations continue to advance the effectiveness and emerging capabilities of NWPT. Polymer Science lies at the forefront of designing and manufacturing a wide range of skin contact adhesives, coatings and tapes for NWPT. The initial Vacuum-Assisted Closure (VAC) device was developed for a diabetic patient with bedsores. Newer NWPT systems have evolved significantly in terms of suction devices, connecting tubing, and the wound interface materials. The advances in components and skin contact materials increase the range of wounds and the type including open wounds and closed surgical sites.

At Polymer Science, our team of engineers and designers develop a range of materials used within NWPT that promote protection, healing, and mobility.

Advancing Healing and Comfort

Polymer Science’s contribution to NWPT includes a number of materials that aid in reduction of erythema, granulation at the wound site, and accelerate wound healing times.

Historically, acrylic adhesives have been used including PS-3091 and PS-3092 (acrylic on PU film. Because of the anchorage required due to cycling between pressure and vacuum, higher adhesion silicone gels like PS-1873 and PS-1880 were introduced.


As a closed system, NWPT maintains an ideal environment. Dressings, adhesive drapes, and tapes must provide protection to the wound and from external contaminants. Improvements in technology reduces the number of dressing changes which improves wound protection.

To further reduce risk of channeling during the pressure/vacuum cycling, hybrid silicone/acrylics such as PS-1883 and PS-1890 have been developed.

This innovative material protects the wound against concerns including bacteria and the formation of channels and tunnels. Advanced materials can also be worn for extended periods and protect patients against trauma when dressings are changed.


NWPT reduces edema and creates new capillary beds. The new nutrients at the wound bed expedites healing time.

P-DERM® PS-1874, boasts a trilaminate structure comprising a high-adhesion silicone gel, a polyurethane support layer, and a medical pressure-sensitive acrylic component. Silicone gel is optimal for wound healing conforming easily to the contours of the anatomy and maintaining moisture.


Incorporating these advanced materials into NWPT solutions not only ensures wound protection and speedy recovery but also addresses patient comfort and confidence. Our materials reduce the frequency of dressing changes reducing stress on patients.

NWPT provides constant protection so patients can focus on healing instead of wound care. The latest advances help patients live with more independence, integrity and mobility.

Working With Polymer Science

By effectively removing fluids and contaminants that may otherwise lead to infection, NWPT promotes not only physical well-being but also peace of mind for patients undergoing advanced care.

Polymer Science’s commitment to innovation in material design stands as a testament to our dedication to improving the efficacy of NWPT, ultimately enhancing the lives of patients on their journey to recovery.

Our talented team is eager to assist manufacturers and suppliers of negative wound pressure therapy systems and other medical devices and treatments. Contact our team to learn more about our process.