• While comparing the effects on wound healing of a heated scalpel with those of the cold scalpel, we discovered that inoculation of rat skin incisions with a strain of Staphylococcus aureus dramatically accelerated the gain in wound strength. The accelerating effect was evident four days postoperatively, was maximal at seven to ten days, and was still present at 28 days. The accelerating effect was correlated with the number of S aureus organisms introduced into the wound, and was found in conventional rats and rats germ free up to the time of monocontamination with S aureus. There was no evidence of infection on gross examination; on histologic examination an occasional microabscess was seen in some rats. There may be both local and systemic mechanisms underlying the S aureus accelerating effect. Seven strains of S aureus with varying characteristics demonstrated the wound-healing accelerating effect. In sharp contrast, Staphylococcus epidermidis (three strains), Staphylococcus hominis (one strain), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (two strains) did not show this effect. The increases in wound healing due to S aureus were substantially greater than reported previously for any nutritional supplement, drug, or other chemical or physical agent.
(Arch Surg 1983;118:310-320)