How Much Does a Wound VAC Cost?

Last Updated on February 15, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

A Wound VAC (Vacuum-Assisted Closure) device is an important wound healing therapy that uses negative pressure to promote faster healing of many types of wounds. But this advanced medical technology comes at a cost. Read on to learn more about the typical pricing, expenses, and financial considerations for wound VAC treatment.

The cost for wound VAC therapy can vary quite a bit based on several factors. But most patients can expect to spend somewhere between $500 to $2,500 per week in the United States for using a wound VAC device. This cost range accounts for both rental fees and purchase prices of the equipment, as well as the supplies needed to operate the device.

How Much Does a Wound VAC Cost?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the specific costs that factor into wound VAC therapy:

  • Device Purchase Price: Buying the wound VAC unit new can range from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the model features and whether it’s a home-use or hospital-grade version.
  • Rental Fees: For short-term use, the wound VAC can be rented for an average weekly fee of $200 to $500. Long-term rentals may offer discounted weekly rates.
  • Supplies: The disposable foam dressings need regular changing, at a cost of $100 to $300 per dressing. Adhesives, tubing, and canisters will cost an additional $50 to $100 weekly.
  • Clinic Fees: Outpatient wound care clinic fees including nursing care for dressing changes can cost an additional $150 to $500 weekly.
  • Hospital Fees: Inpatient hospital stay for initial wound VAC application and monitoring can cost $2,000 to $5,000 per day.

Vitality Medical offers various Negative Pressure Wound Vac Machines and accessories with prices ranging widely. For instance, the extriCARE 3600 Negative Pressure Wound Vacuum Therapy NPWT is priced at $2,500.00 for the device itself, with dressing kits and accessories priced from $30.00 to over $700.00 depending on the specific item.

Example Cost Scenarios

To give a better idea of potential total costs, here are some example wound VAC therapy scenarios:

  • 4 weeks rented device + supplies: Approximately $2,000 to $4,000 total
  • Purchased home unit + 12 weeks supplies: Approximately $5,000 to $15,000 total
  • Hospital therapy for 2 weeks + 2 weeks rental: Could total $15,000 to $30,000

How Does a Wound VAC Work?

First, it’s helpful to understand what this medical device does. A wound VAC uses a vacuum pump to deliver continuous or intermittent negative pressure to the wound. This helps draw out excess fluid from the wound while improving blood flow to the area.

A foam dressing is placed into the open wound cavity before sealing it with a drape. The dressing is connected to the vacuum pump via a tube. This cyclical application of pressure has been clinically shown to help wounds heal faster.

What Affects the Cost of Wound VAC Therapy?

Several key factors can impact the overall price and expenses for wound VAC treatment:

  • Rental vs. Purchase: The wound VAC device can either be rented from a medical supplier or purchased outright. Rental fees are typically charged weekly. Purchase prices can range from $2,000 to over $15,000 depending on the model.
  • Duration of Treatment: Most patients require wound VAC therapy for 2-4 weeks. Longer treatment duration will increase costs proportionally.
  • Type of Device: Hospital-grade systems used for inpatient care are more expensive than outpatient models. Advanced features and newer models can also cost more.
  • Supplies: The disposable foam dressings, canisters, and adhesives need regular changing. These recurring costs can add up.
  • Insurance Coverage: What medical insurance covers for wound VAC varies greatly. Pre-approval and reimbursement levels will impact out-of-pocket expenses.

Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement

Wound VAC DeviceUnfortunately, wound VAC therapy can be prohibitively expensive for many patients if insurance coverage is limited. Here are some tips for managing reimbursement:

  • Contact your health insurance provider to check your durable medical equipment benefits and learn what portion is covered.
  • Obtain pre-authorization from the insurer before starting therapy to ensure maximum coverage.
  • Ask your doctor about generic or off-brand supplies to lower materials expenses if allowed.
  • Look into renting the device for the short-term instead of purchasing to save on upfront costs.
  • Apply for financial assistance programs offered by device manufacturers or non-profits if facing high out-of-pocket expenses.

Wound VAC Costs Vs Conventional Wound Care

While the price tag for wound VAC therapy is certainly higher than traditional dressings and ointments, the clinical benefits often justify the added expense.

Studies show vacuum-assisted wound closure results in faster healing, fewer infections, and reduced need for surgical procedures compared to standard wound care. Patients spend less time in the hospital and can return to normal activities quicker.

So the long-term costs of extended medical treatment are reduced with wound VACs despite the higher weekly costs. However, for smaller or superficial wounds, traditional low-tech wound care may still be the cheaper option.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a nebulizer, an ARP wave machine, or a wheelchair.

Tips for Managing Wound VAC Costs

Here are some recommendations for controlling costs when it comes to wound VAC therapy:

  • Discuss rental options before deciding to purchase a unit if treatment duration is uncertain. Short-term rental can save thousands.
  • Compare pricing between vendors when possible. Hospital-grade systems are more expensive.
  • Use generic dressings after the initial surgical application to lower supplies costs.
  • Clean and reuse certain supplies according to manufacturer guidelines.
  • Opt for intermittent pressure settings instead of continuous if recommended by your clinician.
  • Evaluate the appropriate duration of therapy to avoid excessive treatment.
  • Check for financial assistance resources from the device manufacturer or charities.


While often clinically beneficial, wound VAC therapy involves significant medical expenditures for purchase or rental of the device and ongoing supplies. With prices ranging from $500 to $2,500 weekly, it is an investment. Careful planning and cost management is key to ensuring appropriate access to wound VAC treatment when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the success rate of wound vac therapy?

The success rate of wound VAC therapy is quite high, with studies showing healing rates of around 80-90% for various types of wounds. The level of success depends partially on the type and severity of the wound.

Chronic wounds may have lower success rates closer to 60-70%. But overall, the mechanized vacuum pressure is highly effective at helping properly selected wounds close faster. With appropriate treatment duration and proper use, most patients see significantly improved healing outcomes compared to other wound care options.

The combination of increased blood flow, reduced fluid buildup, and mechanical tissue stimulation creates an optimal environment for wound closure.

How long do you stay on a wound vac?

The length of time a wound VAC is used depends on the severity of the wound and how quickly it heals while using the therapy. For serious wounds or ulcers, it is common to stay on the wound VAC for 4 to 8 weeks. Some wounds may heal fully in just 2 to 3 weeks of vacuum therapy.

For chronic non-healing wounds, VAC therapy may be necessary for several months before complete closure is achieved. The healthcare provider monitors the wound on regular follow-up visits to determine if continued use of the device is needed or if conventional dressings can be resumed. Adherence to the recommended treatment protocol maximizes the chances for success.

Is wound VAC removal painful?

Removal and change of the wound VAC foam and adhesive dressing does involve some mild discomfort or pain in most cases. However, the pain is usually minimal and temporary.

Prior to dressing removal, pain medication may be administered if the patient is very uncomfortable. Removal of the old dressing should be done slowly and gently. Soaking the adhesive drape with saline solution helps loosen it from the skin.

Any foam that has adhered to wound tissue needs very delicate removal to avoid damaging new granulation tissue. Once the old VAC dressing is fully removed, the fresh dressing change process is much easier and typically not painful. Most patients tolerate routine VAC changes well, especially with good pain management.

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