Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a polysaccharide common to most species and is found in many sites in the human body, including the skin and soft tissue. A systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis was performed to identify randomized controlled trials, evaluating the use of HA derivatives in healing burns, epithelial surgical, and chronic wounds. Nine studies were identified, which met the search criteria and clinical endpoints of complete healing and percent wound size reduction when using HA vs. either an active or passive comparator. It was found in the vast majority of randomized controlled trials (eight of nine) that HA derivatives significantly improved the healing of wounds vs. traditional therapies or placebo (either via complete healing or a significant reduction in wound size) occurring from burns, venous insufficiency, diabetes, neuropathic insufficiency, and surgical removal of the epithelial layer (for tattoo removal). In the other remaining trial, one formulation of HA was compared with another, with the higher concentration showing improved application characteristics. Further, it was found in a meta-analysis in subsets of patients with diabetic foot ulcers (neuropathic) that HA derivatives healed these types of wounds significantly faster than standard of care. These studies in aggregate show that HA derivatives accelerate the healing process in burns, epithelial surgical wounds, and chronic wounds.
© 2012 by the Wound Healing Society.