Comparison of the effects of commonly used wound agents on epithelialization and neovascularization

D Kjolseth, J M Frank, J H Barker, G L Anderson, A I Rosenthal, R D Acland, D Schuschke, F R Campbell, G R Tobin, L J Weiner
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 1994, 179 (3): 305-12

BACKGROUND: The primary effect sought with most topical wound therapy is antimicrobial. Topical wound agents are thought to promote normal healing by protecting the wound from infection. In this study, we examined the effect of six commonly used topical wound agents (bacitracin, sodium hypochlorite, silver nitrate, silver sulfadiazine, mafenide acetate, and povidone-iodine) on epithelialization and neovascularization in noninfected wounds. For this study, a new wound model was used in which direct visualization and quantification of wound epithelialization and neovascularization were carried out throughout the entire healing process.

STUDY DESIGN: We measured the effect which 500 U per g of bacitracin, 0.25 percent of sodium hypochlorite, 0.5 percent silver nitrate, 1 percent silver sulfadiazine, 8.5 percent mafenide acetate, and 10 percent povodione-iodine had on the rate of wound epithelialization and neovascularization. The agents were applied topically to 99 circular full-thickness wounds (2.25 mm diameter, 0.125 mm depth) created on the dorsum of male hairless mouse ears. This model enabled us to visualize and measure directly wound epithelialization and neovascularization repeatedly throughout healing, using intravital video microscopy and computerized digitized planimetry.

RESULTS: Control wounds and wounds treated with silver sulfadiazine (n = 18) and mafenide acetate (n = 14) epithelialized in 7.2 +/- 0.7, 7.1 +/- 0.3, and 7.3 +/- 0.3 days, respectively. This was significantly (p < 0.01) faster than the wounds treated with povidone-iodine (n = 10), sodium hypochlorite, (n = 8), and bacitracin (n = 13). Wounds treated with povidone-iodine epithelialized the slowest (11.8 +/- 0.55 days). Wound neovascularization was completed most rapidly in the groups treated with povidone-iodine and silver sulfadiazine (15.0 +/- 0.4 and 15.3 +/- 0.7 days, respectively). This was significantly (p < 0.05) faster than wounds treated with silver nitrate (n = 15), which neovascularized in 18.4 +/- 0.56 days. One-half of the wounds treated with sodium hypochlorite (eight of 16) did not epithelialize or neovascularize.

CONCLUSIONS: The various antimicrobial agents studied in our in vivo model affect wound epithelialization and neovascularization differently. These effects on these two very important aspects of healing should be taken into consideration when indicating a specific agent for treatment of different types of wounds.

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