High blood sugar raises risk for surgical wound problems

Diabetics with high blood sugar have an increased risk for complications with surgical wound healing, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Center for Wound Healing at Georgetown University found that operations to close chronic skin ulcers caused by diabetes are more likely to cause wound problems in patients with elevated blood glucose levels, suggesting a need for better blood sugar control in these patients before surgery.

The study

The study of 79 patients found that risk for serious wound complications was more than three times higher among patients with high blood sugar before and after surgery. The risk was also elevated among patients who had a history of poor diabetes control.

Wounds were more likely to re-open (wound dehiscence), become infected and require repeat surgery, the researchers reported. Among patients with high blood sugar levels, wound dehiscence occurred in 44 percent of these individuals, compared with 19 percent who had normal blood sugar levels.

Implications

Researchers couldn't specify a casual relationship between wound complications and high blood sugar. The authors noted that high blood sugar can occur before surgery even in patients who normally have good diabetes control.

Surgeons may need to consult with specialists to manage diabetic patients' blood sugar control, they concluded. More research about how controlling blood sugar before surgery impacts would-related complications would also be helpful, they added.

Information about the study can be found in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Source: Health Day

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