Effect of postoperative diclofenac on anastomotic healing, skin wounds and subcutaneous collagen accumulation: a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled, experimental study

Eur Surg Res. 2012;48(2):73-8. doi: 10.1159/000336208. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


Background: Retrospective studies have drawn attention to possible detrimental effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on the anastomotic leakage rate after colorectal resection. In this study, we examined the effects of the NSAID diclofenac on the breaking strength of an experimental colonic anastomosis and a skin incision as well as subcutaneous collagen accumulation.

Methods: This was a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled experimental study in 60 male Wistar rats treated with diclofenac 4 mg/kg/day or placebo. In each rat, a colonic anastomosis was performed and an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) tube was placed subcutaneously. Incisional and anastomotic wound breaking strength and hydroxyproline content in the ePTFE tubes were measured 7 days after the operation.

Results: We found no significant differences in any of the breaking strength measurements, but showed a median 38% reduction in hydroxyproline deposition as a result of diclofenac treatment (p = 0.03). In the placebo group, subcutaneous collagen deposition tended to correlate positively with skin incisional but negatively with anastomotic bio-mechanical strength.

Conclusion: Postoperative diclofenac treatment significantly inhibited collagen deposition in subcutaneous granulation tissue. Anastomotic strength and skin wound strength were not significantly affected. The ePTFE model is suitable for assessing the effect of various drugs on collagen formation and thus on wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Anastomotic Leak / chemically induced*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Collagen / biosynthesis*
  • Colon / surgery
  • Diclofenac / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Period
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Subcutaneous Tissue / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Diclofenac
  • Collagen