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Laryngoscope. 2018 Mar;128(3):618-625. doi: 10.1002/lary.26813. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Tobacco exposure and wound healing in head and neck surgical wounds.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Head and Neck Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Head and Neck Surgery, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
3
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
4
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
5
Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Smoking impairs wound healing, yet the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are unclear. We evaluated tobacco-altered healing in head and neck surgery by studying the association between biomarkers and tobacco exposure, as well as cutaneous perfusion by smoking status.

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study, tertiary/academic care center, 2011 to present.

METHODS:

Patients who required head and neck surgery were enrolled prospectively. Postsurgical drain fluid was collected 24 hours postoperatively. Biomarkers associated with postulated mechanisms of smoking-impaired healing were assayed. These included interleukin-1, -6, and -8; tumor necrosis factor- alpha; transforming growth factor-beta; epidermal growth factor (EGF); basic fibroblastic growth factor (bFGF); C-reactive protein; vascular endothelial growth factor; soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFLT-1); and placental growth factor. Tobacco exposure and clinical outcomes were recorded. Two sample two-sided t tests evaluated the differences in cytokine levels by tobacco exposure. In a second cohort, cutaneous vascular assessment via indocyanine green angiography was compared by smoking status.

RESULTS:

Twenty-eight patients were enrolled with drain fluid collection. Twenty-one subjects were current/former smokers, whereas seven were never smokers. EGF was higher in never smokers than smokers in a statistically significant manner (P = 0.030). Likewise, sFLT-1 was significantly higher in never smokers (P = 0.011). Cutaneous angiography revealed nonsmokers to have significantly higher cutaneous perfusion than smokers.

CONCLUSION:

In this head and neck surgical cohort, significantly higher EGF and sFLT-1 levels in wound fluid were associated with never smoking, suggesting that smoking has adverse effects on the inflammatory phase of wound healing. Cutaneous angiography supports the detrimental effect of smoking on skin perfusion. These findings suggest the need for further study as well as therapeutic targets for smokers undergoing surgery.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

2b. Laryngoscope, 128:618-625, 2018.

KEYWORDS:

Smoking; cytokines; wound healing

PMID:
28940252
PMCID:
PMC6015653
DOI:
10.1002/lary.26813
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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