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There is only one
3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy,
the original NPWT.

A world leader in negative pressure wound therapy - driven by science.

3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy

V.A.C.® Therapy repeatedly sets the standard for negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT). Since it has been used to treat more than 10 million wounds1 worldwide, there is reliable clinical evidence that associates V.A.C.® Therapy with reduced risk of readmission and reduced need of reoperation2 — ultimately reducing hospitalisation time and the risk of complications.2,3 Not all NPWT is the same, and choosing V.A.C.® Therapy can help improve patient care and your bottom line.

  • circular blue icon with  showing half a fraction and half a clock face

    50% less time for acute wounds and 67% less for chronic wounds

    When V.A.C.® Therapy was initiated early in the wound care clinic treatment time period compared to late initiation, the days to reach significant closure (75% wound surface area reduction) were significantly decreased.4 Early initiation* of V.A.C.® Therapy has been shown to reduce 50% time for acute wounds and 65% time for chronic wounds.

    Based on a retrospective analysis conducted on a national insurance provider’s medical claims data, which examined 6,181 acute and 1,480 chronic wound patients that received NPWT from January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011.

    *Defined as treatment within the first 7 days for acute wounds and 30 days for chronic wounds from the first wound treatment date.

  • cost savings icon

    21%–34% lower total costs across wound types at 12 months

    In a retrospective analysis of U.S. insurance claims in the outpatient setting, patients who received V.A.C.® Therapy had lower total and wound-related treatment costs than patients who received alternative negative pressure wound therapy, in all wound types across all time periods studied.3

    See additional findings from this study (PDF, 140 KB)

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    Backed by clinical evidence

    V.A.C.® Therapy continues to have the largest body of NPWT evidence in the world with 2,000+ peer-reviewed publications and more than 75% of published NPWT clinical evidence is based on V.A.C.® Therapy.6

    These studies have demonstrated several benefits of NPWT, as well as the effectiveness of V.A.C.® Therapy in helping to manage diabetic foot wounds, chronic wounds (e.g., pressure ulcers and lower extremity ulcers), and a variety of acute wounds.

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy products that can help you continue to strive for better outcomes


How does 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy work?

See the 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy Mechanism of Action

V.A.C.® Therapy is the original, foundational NPWT and one of the world leaders in NPWT. It promotes an environment for wound healing by protecting the wound from external contamination, providing a moist wound environment, and promoting the formation of granulation tissue.6

The combination of 3M’s proprietary foam, drape, multi-lumen tubing, and advanced algorithms enable you to provide a uniform negative pressure to the wound surface. This consistent negative pressure helps draw wound edges together, allows for the removal of exudate and infectious material, and stimulates the growth of tissue so the wound can heal.

Graphic image illustrating the mode of action for V.A.C.® Therapy on a wound
  • 1) Draws wound edges together

    The application of uniform negative pressure induces a physical response — macrostrain — that can be seen immediately as the wound edges are drawn together, allowing for optimal contact between the wound bed and the dressing.7

  • 2) Removes exudate and infectious material

    Macrostrain facilitates removal of wound exudate which may contain inhibitors of wound healing.6

  • 3) Reduces Oedema and promotes perfusion

    Removal of wound fluids assists in the reduction of oedema, which facilitates the flow of blood into the wound bed, providing the oxygen and nutrients that are needed for wound healing.6

  • 4) Promotes granulation tissue formation

    In vitro/in vivo studies show that foam contact with tissue creates micro-deformation that leads to cell stretch.7 Cell stretch under negative pressure stimulates cellular activity that results in granulation tissue formation.8

    Over subsequent dressing changes, the granulation tissue fills the wound bed, further reducing the volume, and preparing it for final closure.

Learn what sets V.A.C.® Therapy apart

At 3M we focus on providing better healthcare solutions through science — designing around patients and those who care for them.

As a result of this commitment, bench testing in a simulated wound model with V.A.C.® Therapy versus other leading NPWT systems showed:

  • 90% more accurate delivery of negative pressure9
  • Removal of fluid 98% faster10
  • Removal of the same volume of fluid in 15 minutes that required 24 hours in other systems10
  • This is the first-ever acrylic and silicone hybrid drape for use with V.A.C.® Therapy. The forgiving silicone intelligently contours to the patient's body and allows for drape repositioning upon initial placement, while the high-tack acrylic layer provides a tight seal.

    Evidence shows it increases patient comfort: 100% (n=17) of patients in a customer preference test agreed that V.A.C. Dermatac Drape was painless upon removal.11

  • V.A.C.® Therapy is the only NPWT that features proprietary SensaT.R.A.C. Technology.
    In conjunction with specialised software, V.A.C.® Therapy detects blockages, senses pressure changes, and notifies you with alarms when target pressure is not achieved.

    Learn more about the SensaT.R.A.C. Technology

  • 3M™ V.A.C.® Granufoam™ Dressings

    When granulation tissue formation is a key part of your patient’s healing, choose V.A.C.® Granufoam Dressings.
    These wound dressings come in multiple shapes and sizes to accommodate diverse wounds, and you can easily trim them to fit the contours of deep or irregularly shaped wounds.
    For patients with multiple wounds, you can customisable the dressings for bridging techniques.

    Explore V.A.C.® Therapy dressings

Photo of person holding Dermatac Drape

You'll want to get your
hands on this drape

Changing your patients’ dressings each time shouldn’t cause additional
pain. With V.A.C. Dermatac Drape, wound care patients will feel the difference - try it yourself today!

Request a demo

Case study Excerpt: V.A.C.® Therapy with 3M™ V.A.C.® Granufoam Dressing and V.A.C. Dermatac Drape

A 61-year-old female underwent a complex right forefoot reconstruction due to a deformity. Both wound sites, the dorsal and medial incisions, developed a dermal dehiscence and were managed with serial debridements and 3M™ Silvercel™ Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing. The dorsal incision healed, but the medial incision demarcated and increased in depth.

The wound was mostly fibrinous with a small area of exposed bone. V.A.C.® Therapy was applied at -125mmHg, using a foam dressing and Dermatac Drape. After five days, the wound was mostly granular, with a small area of exposed bone. After the dressing change, V.A.C.® Therapy was discontinued due to the small size of the wound.

  • Image demonstrating V.A.C.® Therapy using Dermatac Drape from 0 to 9 days

    A) Application of 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy with 3M™ Dermatac™ Drape.
    B) Initiation of 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy.
    C) Wound appearance after four days of 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy.
    D) Granulated wound after nine days of 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy.

    Patient data and photos courtesy of Ralph Napolitano, Jr., DPM, CWSP, FACFAS; Orthoneuro; New Albany, OH.

    *Please note the data reported are adapted to the UK market

  • Additional case studies brochure thumbnail

    NOTE: As with any case study, the results and outcomes should not be interpreted as a guarantee or warranty of similar results. Individual results may vary depending on the patient’s circumstances and condition.

    Read this V.A.C. Dermatac Drape with V.A.C.® Therapy case studies (PDF, 5.3 MB)

Real world data demonstrated V.A.C.® Therapy delivers lower total cost to treat compared to other NPWT providers studied.3

In a retrospective analysis of 6,736 U.S. insurance claims in the outpatient setting, patients who received V.A.C.® Therapy had lower total and wound-related treatment costs than patients who received competitor NPWT, in all wound types across all time periods studied.

V.A.C.® Therapy patients had 32%–37% lower total and wound related costs across time periods and lower total out-of-pocket costs. Lower total costs to treat V.A.C.® Therapy patients driven by lower home health agency, skilled nursing facility, NPWT, and other expenses. NPWT charges represented only 3% of the total cost to treat.*

The evidence behind V.A.C.® Therapy

In a retrospective analysis of 3,604 patients, when V.A.C.® Therapy was initiated early in acute (within the first 7 days) and chronic wounds (within the first 30 days) of varying size, the treatment time compared to late initiation (after the early time periods).

Early initiation of NPWT shows benefits across many care settings.12-14

Read the full study (PDF, 145 KB)

  • V.A.C.® Therapy brochure thumbnail

    What would 178 fewer days mean to your patients?

    The median days to reach significant closure (75% wound surface area reduction) were 41.4 fewer days for acute wounds and 178 fewer days for chronic wounds compared to late initiation of NPWT.4

    Additionally, the early group was twice as likely to reach 75% surface area reduction as the late group for both acute and chronic wounds.

  • V.A.C.® Therapy reduction of length of stay chart

    Early initiation* of NPWT has been shown to reduce length of stay

    • Reduced inpatient days in acute and intensive care unit by at least 50%15
    • Reduced inpatient days in long term acute care by 30%14
    • Reduced homecare length of stay by 34% for surgical wounds13
    • Reduced homecare length of stay by 49% for pressure injuries13

    *Early: Acute wounds defined as NPWT initiated within the first 7 days. Chronic wounds are defined as NPWT initiated within the first 30 days. Late: NPWT initiation occurred after these periods.

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Application guides and resources for V.A.C.® Therapy

  • ActiV.A.C. Therapy system clinician instructions

    ActiV.A.C. Therapy System Clinician Instructions

    This video demonstrates how to operate the ActiV.A.C. Therapy System. Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions and safety information exist for these products and therapies.

    Video 5:29 min

  • V.A.C.® Ulta 4 Therapy System video thumbnail

    V.A.C.® Therapy on the 3M™ V.A.C.® Ulta 4 Therapy System

    This video provides an overview and directions to initiate V.A.C.® Therapy, which is used on the V.A.C.® Ulta 4 Therapy System.

    Video 0:40 min

  • Dermatac Drape application video thumbnail

    V.A.C.® Dressing Basic Application using V.A.C. Dermatac Drape

    This video demonstrates a V.A.C.® Therapy dressing application using a standard V.A.C.® Granufoam Dressing and V.A.C. Dermatac Drape – the innovative hybrid silicone-acrylic drape.

    Video 5:37 min

  • Application mushroom technique video thumbnail.

    Application tips: V.A.C.® Dressing Application Mushroom Technique on Small Wounds

    This video provides application technique tips for applying V.A.C.® Dressings using the "mushroom" technique on small wounds.

    Video 5:10 min

  • V.A.C.® Therapy Clinical Guidelines (PDF, 10.8 MB)

    Use these guidelines to help establish patient-specific treatment protocols for V.A.C.® Therapy, including safety information, dressing techniques and monitoring standards.

    View V.A.C.® Therapy Clinical Guidelines (PDF, 10.8 MB)

10 million wounds treated worldwide with V.A.C.® Therapy1

Since its introduction in 1995, V.A.C.® Therapy has been selected to treat more than 10 million wounds worldwide1.

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Discover online learning that's right for you and deepen your clinical expertise with professional training opportunities and educational resources available on 3M℠ Health Care Academy.
3M webinars and archived events keep you up to date with the latest product guidelines and scientifically supported standards of care.

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Ready to try 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy?

See how our combination of products and technology can help you manage wound care the smart way.

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Manage a wide range of wounds with V.A.C.® Therapy

  • In a randomized controlled trial (V.A.C.® Therapy, AMWT), V.A.C.® Therapy was associated with a significantly greater proportion of DFUs achieving complete closure and fewer amputations at 112 days compared to advanced moist wound therapy (AMWT).16

  • Discover the difference V.A.C.® Therapy solutions can make, creating an environment that promotes wound healing.

  • V.A.C.® Therapy provides negative pressure wound therapy for traumatic wounds and partial-thickness burns to create an environment that promotes wound healing. This helps draw wound edges together, remove infectious materials and promote granulation tissue formation.

Explore additional 3M Negative Pressure Wound Therapies

  • Veraflo Therapy combines the benefits of NPWT with automated instillation and dwell of topical wound solution to provide simultaneous cleansing and granulation tissue formation.*17,18

    *Results have not been confirmed in human studies.

  • Prevena Therapy is the first single-use negative pressure therapy system designed for the management of closed incisions in patients at risk of postoperative complications, including infection.

  • AbThera Therapy incorporates all the functional elements of an optimal temporary closure device to help protect abdominal contents from the external environment, allowing rapid access for re-entry, medial tension, and fluid removal.

  • Snap Therapy is a discreet, single-use system that preserves patient mobility and is ideal for low-to-moderate exuding wounds.

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Looking for more information?

  • We are here to help! Get in touch with our customer support team for advice about our products and how to use them.

  • View our advanced wounds and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and I.V. dressings portfolios and browse our product catalogue.

  • Find Instructions for Use for specific 3M Health Care products.

  • Find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding 3M Health Care.

Note: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product instructions for use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals.


  1. 3M. Cumulative NPWT Wounds. 2018.
  2. Page JC, Newsander B, Schwenke DC, Hansen M, Ferguson J. Retrospective analysis of negative pressure wound therapy in open foot wounds with significant soft tissue defects. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2004;17(7):354-364.
  3. Law A L. Krebs B. Karnik B. Griffin L. Comparison of Healthcare Costs Associated With Patients Receiving Traditional Negative Pressure Wound Therapies in the Post Acute Setting. Cureus 12(11): e11790.
  4. Miller-Mikolajczyk C, Achi J, James R. Real world use: comparing early versus late initiation of negative pressure wound therapy on wound surface area reduction in patients at wound care clinics. Poster presented at The Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society Annual Conference, June 22-26, 2013. Seattle, Washington.
  5. KCI. Percentage of V.A.C. Therapy Articles vs. Comp Articles. May 7, 2020
  6. Orgill DP, Manders EK, Sumpio BE, et al. The mechanisms of action of vacuum assisted closure: more to learn. Surgery. 2009 Jul;146(1):40-51
  7. Saxena V, Hwang CW, Huang S, Eichbaum Q, Ingber D, Orgill DP. Vacuum-assisted closure: microdeformations of wounds and cell proliferation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Oct;114(5):1086-96; discussion 1097-8.
  8. McNulty AK, et al. Effects of negative pressure wound therapy on the fibroblast viability, chemotactic signaling and proliferation in a provisional wound (fibrin) matrix. WOUNDS. 2007; 15:838-‐846.
  9. Kilpadi DV, Kauffman C. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) systems: ability to deliver prescribed negative pressure (NP) to the wound site. Paper presented at: Symposium on Advanced Wound Care Spring Meeting; April 23-27, 2014; Orlando, FL. Simulated wound bed pressures were measured under combinations of simulated wound-fluid flow rates. VAC therapy achieved acceptable levels of target NP in 9 out of 9 test combinations versus competitor product, which delivered lower than prescribed in 6 out of the 9 tested combinations.
  10. Kilpadi DV, Kauffman C. Comparing fluid removal by negative pressure wound therapy systems from simulated wound sites. Paper presented at: 36th John A. Boswick, MD Burn and Wound Care Symposium; February 15-19, 2014; Maui, HI.
  11. Desvigne, M. Initial Experiences Applying Negative Pressure Wound Therapy with a Novel Drape Containing an Acrylic and Silicone-based Adhesive. Poster Presented at the SAWC Fall Meeting, Las Vegas, NV. Oct 2019.
  12. Baharestani MM. Driver VR. Optimizing clinical and cost effectiveness with early intervention of V.A.C.® Therapy. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2008;54(11 Suppl):1-15.
  13. Baharestani MM, Houliston-Otto DB, Barnes S. Early versus late initiation of negative pressure wound therapy: examining the impact home care length of stay. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2008; 54(11 Suppl):48-53.
  14. Driver VR, de Leon JM. Health economic implications for wound care and limb preservation. J Managed Care Med. 2008; 1(11):13-19.
  15. Kaplan M, Daly D, Stemkowski S. Early intervention of negative pressure wound therapy using vacuum-assisted closure in trauma patients: impact on hospital length of stay and cost. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2009;3(22):128-132.
  16. Blume PA, Walters J, Payne W, Ayala J, Lantis J. Comparison of negative pressure wound therapy using vacuum-assisted closure with advanced moist wound therapy in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(4):631-636.
  17. Lessing C, Slack P, Hong KZ, Kilpadi D, McNulty A. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy With Controlled Saline Instillation (NPWTi): Dressing Properties and Granulation Response In Vivo. Wounds. 2011 Oct;23(10):309-19. PMID: 25881108.
  18. Carroll C, Ingram S. Comparison of Topical Wound Solutions for Negative Pressure Wound Therapy with Instillation: Effect on Granulation in an Excisional Non-Infected Acute Porcine Wound Model, Poster Presentation at SAWC, Oct 2017.