A more complete understanding of the nature of wound healing is bringing change and great optimism to the specialty of plastic surgery.
Efforts to gain greater control of the body's reparative process continue. Potential clinical applications for growth factors—most notably platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)—include accelerating surgical incision healing, managing decubiti and other nonhealing wounds, and inhibiting scar formation.
Animal studies and early clinical trials have shown that growth factors can be powerful agents in manipulating wound repair. In a preliminary safety trial that measured the effects of topical PDGF on decubiti, accelerated wound healing was noted in five of the 23 patients who received the growth factor.1 Healing was accelerated by an estimated 10 days in the treatment group.
Similar encouraging results were seen in a multicenter, prospective, randomized trial that involved elderly nursing home residents. Although no improvement was demonstrated in the
Zook EG. Plastic Surgery. JAMA. 1994;271(21):1703-1704. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450075042