Open wound surgery with vac seal


New Member
Hi everybody!

So I figured I would post a thread about a vacuum seal healed open wound surgery for second incidence, since I struggled to find information when I was headed to my second surgery.

First, I had a closed surgery sealed with stitches in February 2018. The wound was closed and "healed" within 4 weeks. However, after 7 months I still had a lot of discomfort. I couldn't sit back on my tailbone, couldn't sleep on my back and couldn't do any exercise without causing pain. In September I went back to the surgeon and the bottom of my wound had still not fully closed. This lead to a second sinus developing. I didn't have the full cyst but I definitely had the pore opening with the contents draining out. The surgeon decided to do an open wound surgery.

The surgery was quick and went very well. My wound was about 6cm long, 2cm wide and 4cm deep. On the first day post op I decided to remain in the hospital for the majority of the day in order to receive pain meds and professional observation of the wound as I feared infection due to the fact that the wound remained uncovered.

Day 2 was the first day of the vacuum seal. I received medical care from a wound care clinic for the duration of my vac seal. The process was as follows:
The wound is cleaned by a nurse with antiseptic and antibacterial meds and wiped out. This was very painful as the nurse needs to work inside the fresh wound. The vacuum seal is attached with a sponge that they place directly INTO your wound. A plastic cover is placed over this and tightly sealed. They then attached the pump connection which in turn is connected to a machine. The machine remains on 24/7. You are allowed to disconnect the pipe from the machine to shower but since the seal can get wet and start leaking, I decided to never remove the pipe. It is important to have the nurse apply as much pressure as necessary to ensure you have a tight seal on the cover of your sponge, as the machine will sound an alarm if the seal is broken in any way. Every 4 days, I returned to the clinic where they remove the entire thing, clean the wound and reseal it with a new sponge. This process was extremely painful for me and I beleive I screamed every time I had it done! However, the days in between cleaning are very manageable and I found it to be less painful than the healing process with stitches. Although the cleaning process is very sore, you can take pain meds about half an hour before the session and it only takes about 15mins to do. So it's a short amount of extreme pain and only remains sore for about half an hour afterwards. Other than that, it's definitely bareable.

All in all, it took 25 days of the vac seal for my wound to close. When the vac comes off, the wound is still very raw and open, which concerned me a lot. However, after 3 days my wound was entirely closed! I couldn't believe it. The vac helps lower your chances of infection and severely speeds up wound healing and closure. I would HIGHLY recommend asking for the vacuum seal! If you don't have medical aid though, another option may be better for you as my bill for the wound care alone was R17500 (approximately $1500, which is a lot of money in South Africa!). After the vac is removed you do a sitz bath once a day until you feel your wound has fully closed and you aren't experiencing a lot of discomfort. The reoccurence rate is also much lower for open wounds versus closed wounds.

It is now 3 months post op and I can do exercise, sit fully back and even lie on my back. The wound is fully closed and I still have mild discomfort if I really push it (sit for long or do strenuous exercise), but I believe it has been a much easier and more rewarding experience having the open wound surgery as opposed to the stitches.

I struggled to find all of the info when I was headed to my surgery so please contact me should you have ANY questions or concerns.