CINCINNATI--Treating skin wounds with a concentrated topical gel of the patient's own blood platelets may result in faster healing, says a researcher at the University of Cincinnati (UC).
Study leader David Hom, MD, now a UC otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) and a facial plastic surgeon completed the work while he was on faculty of the University of Minnesota.
Hom and his team looked at how quickly skin wounds treated with a gel of their own platelets (autologous platelet gel or APG) compared with a control antibiotic ointment. It is believed to be one of the earliest preliminary studies comparing the effectiveness of APG on skin wounds in healthy humans.
Four male and four female volunteers aged 21-58 received five full-thickness skin punch wounds (4 mm diameter) on each thigh. APG was applied topically to the punch sites (one to two times) on one thigh and antibiotic ointment to the other, and the wounds were monitored for six months.
Over a 42-day period, the researchers found that skin wounds treated with APG had a statistically significant increased wound closure compared with the antibiotic-treated sites.
On day 14, the researchers report in the May/June 2007 issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, the APG-treated sites had a closure rate of 73.9 percent, while the control, antibiotic-treated sites closed at 49.6 percent. By day 17, 81.1 percent of the APG-treated sites closed, compared with 57.2 percent of the antibiotic sites.
Clinical analysis of the APG-treated sites also showed increased growth factor levels, which are essential in wound healing.
"Overall, some of the APG-treated wound sites healed two to three days faster," says Hom. "That's a significant amount of time. This may be especially useful for patients who are prone to poor healing, such those with diabetes.
"Accelerating normal wound healing could also improve the quality of life for patients post-op," says Hom. "They may be able to leave the hospital sooner and get back to their regular routines more quickly."
Hom says APG treatment on skin wounds may also help patients who typically heal poorly.
"If APG continues to prove it speeds up skin wound healing in future studies, it could be beneficial to give it to patients during surgery as a preventive measure to reduce post-op healing complications," Hom says.
Collaborators on the study include Bradley Linzie, MD, department of pathology, Hennepin County Hospital, Minneapolis, and Trevor Huang, PhD, of Medtronic Inc., a medical technology company that funded the study and for which Hom serves as a consultant.