Topical Blood Platelet Gel to Speed Skin Healing?

Treating skin wounds with a concentrated topical gel of the patient’s own blood platelets may result in faster healing, according to research from the University of Cincinnati (UC). The study's leader, David Hom, MD, now a UC otolaryngologist and a facial plastic surgeon, completed his work while he was on faculty of the University of Minnesota.

According to UC, Hom and his team looked at how quickly skin wounds healed when treated with a gel of the individual's own blood platelets (autologous platelet gel or APG), compared with a control antibiotic ointment. This, reported UC, 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 claimed that skin wounds treated with APG showed a statistically significant increase in wound closure, compared with the antibiotic-treated sites.

According to the study, published in the May/June 2007 issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, on day 14, the APG-treated sites had a closure rate of 73.9% while the control, antibiotic-treated sites closed at 49.6%. By day 17, 81.1%of the APG-treated sites closed, compared with 57.2%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,” said Hom in a report. “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,” said Hom.

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