BACKGROUND: Suction-based wound healing devices with open-pore foam interfaces are widely used to treat complex tissue defects. The impact of changes in physicochemical parameters of the wound interfaces has not been investigated. METHODS: Full-thickness wounds in diabetic mice were treated with occlusive dressing or a suction device with a polyurethane foam interface varying in mean pore size diameter. Wound surface deformation on day 2 was measured on fixed tissues. Histologic cross-sections were analyzed for granulation tissue thickness (hematoxylin and eosin), myofibroblast density (α-smooth muscle actin), blood vessel density (platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1), and cell proliferation (Ki67) on day 7. RESULTS: Polyurethane foam-induced wound surface deformation increased with polyurethane foam pore diameter: 15 percent (small pore size), 60 percent (medium pore size), and 150 percent (large pore size). The extent of wound strain correlated with granulation tissue thickness that increased 1.7-fold in small pore size foam-treated wounds, 2.5-fold in medium pore size foam-treated wounds, and 4.9-fold in large pore size foam-treated wounds (p < 0.05) compared with wounds treated with an occlusive dressing. All polyurethane foams increased the number of myofibroblasts over occlusive dressing, with maximal presence in large pore size foam-treated wounds compared with all other groups (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The pore size of the interface material of suction devices has a significant impact on the wound healing response. Larger pores increased wound surface strain, tissue growth, and transformation of contractile cells. Modification of the pore size is a powerful approach for meeting biological needs of specific wounds.
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