Background: From a post hoc analysis a hypothesis was generated that women deposit more collagen in a surrogate test wound than men. The purpose of this study has been to verify this hypothesis prospectively in a controlled study.
Methods: Post hoc analyses were done on 37 volunteers (study A). The prospective trial included 47 smoking volunteers (study B). Outcome measures were deposition levels of collagen (hydroxyproline) and protein during a period of 10 days in subcutaneously implanted tubes of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene.
Results: The mean increments of collagen deposition levels in women as compared with men were 56% (P <.01) in study A and 74% (P <.001) in study B. The mean increase in the ratio collagen/total protein was 74% (P <.001) and 69% (P <.001), indicating that the increase was specific for collagen.
Conclusions: The studies show that deposition in a miniature subcutaneous test wound of collagen, but not noncollagenous protein, is promoted in women as compared to men. These findings may relate to the observation in some reports indicating higher rates of compromised postoperative wound healing in men.