Indexed on: 15 Jun '11Published on: 15 Jun '11Published in: Orthopedics
Treatment of soft tissue defects with exposed bones and joints, resulting from trauma, infection, and surgical complications, represents a major challenge. The introduction of negative pressure wound therapy has changed many wound management practices. Negative pressure wound therapy has recently been used in the orthopedic field for management of traumatic or open wounds with exposed bone, nerve, tendon, and orthopedic implants. This article describes a case of a patient with a large soft tissue defect and exposed knee joint, in which negative pressure wound therapy markedly improved wound healing. A 50-year-old man presented with an ulceration of his left knee with exposed joint, caused by severe wound infections after open reduction and internal fixation of a patellar fracture. After 20 days of negative pressure wound therapy, a granulated wound bed covered the exposed bones and joint.To our knowledge, this is the first report of negative pressure wound therapy used in a patient with a large soft tissue defect with exposed knee joint. Despite the chronic wound secondary to infection, healing was achieved through the use of the negative pressure wound therapy, thus promoting granulation tissue formation and closing the joint. We suggest negative pressure wound therapy as an alternative option for patients with lower limb wounds containing exposed bones and joints when free flap transfer is contraindicated. Our result added to the growing evidence that negative pressure wound therapy is a useful adjunctive treatment for open wounds around the knee joint.