In this medical video learn how a new device works like a vacuum to heal wounds that some patients can't even feel.
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Jennifer Matthews: Little Emma knows how to keep her grandfather's spirits up. And he needs it. David Newbauer's been living with diabetes for 27 years. David Newbauer: I have had problems with my eyes, and I have had problems with retaining fluids, and finally, I lost my kidney function. Jennifer Matthews: His most recent problem? Two foot wounds that won't heal. David Newbauer: Basically, I have almost no feeling in my foot. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Stephanie Wu says a condition called neuropathy prevents many diabetics from feeling pain. Dr. Stephanie Wu: Patients who lost the gift of pain will continue walking and not realizing that they are wearing a hole at the bottom of their foot. Jennifer Matthews: So Dr. Wu is using a new therapy called vacuum assisted closure, or VAC, on David. She first covers the wounds, then wraps them with special foam, and covers them again. A tube attaches to the foam, sucks out fluids and provides pressure almost like a vacuum. The specialized foam interacts with the wound and promotes healing. Dr. David Armstrong says, the device can work wonders. Dr. David Armstrong: In many cases, it is the difference between life and limb. Jennifer Matthews: People who use the VAC technique have fewer amputations and heal more quickly. Look at this patient's foot before the VAC; here it is again after a few weeks, and here it is after he finished treatment. David hopes for similar results. David Newbauer: It would be nice to be back on my own and have a little more independence. Jennifer Matthews: He'll have to wear the device until his wound heals, but he says it'll be worth it. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.