Enhancement of wound healing was limited to good surgical technique, maintenance of a clean wound with appropriate dressings, and debridement. The ability to heal wounds has been advanced through the recognition that healing in a moist environment is improved over that of a desiccated wound. Pharmacologic approaches to wound healing did not exist until the last few decades, when it was recognized that growth factors are normally present in the wound environment and that in animal models and a few clinical studies, the addition of growth factors could enhance healing. In 1998, platelet-derived growth factor was approved for clinical use. This approach is still the subject of intense investigation and clinical trials. This article analyzes current knowledge on growth factors as therapeutic agents and speculates on their future potential, with an analysis of successes and failures to date.