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Abstract

Background:

Ischaemia and necrosis of skin flaps is a common complication after mastectomy. This study evaluated the influence of anisodamine and Salvia miltiorrhiza on wound complications after mastectomy for breast cancer.

Methods:

Ninety patients undergoing mastectomy for breast carcinoma were divided into three groups. Group 1 received routine wound care, group 2 received intravenous Salvia miltiorrhiza after surgery for 3 days and group 3 similarly received intravenous anisodamine. Skin flaps were observed on postoperative days 4 and 8; areas of wound ischaemia and necrosis were graded and adverse events recorded.

Results:

There was no difference in demographic characteristics between the groups. At 4 days after surgery the rate of ischaemia and necrosis in groups 2 and 3 was significantly reduced compared with that in control group 1 (median wound score 6·80 versus 23·38, P = 0·002, and 3·76 versus 23·38, P < 0·001, respectively). This improvement in groups 2 and 3 continued to postoperative day 8 (both P < 0·001), but wound scores at this stage were better in group 3 than in group 2 (1·82 versus 6·92 respectively; P = 0·022). The volume of wound drainage was lower in group 3 than in group 1 (P = 0·004). The incidence of adverse effects was highest in group 3, and two patients in this group discontinued treatment. No significant complications were noted in group 2.

Conclusion:

Anisodamine and S. miltiorrhiza were both effective in reducing skin flap ischaemia and necrosis after mastectomy, although anisodamine was associated with a higher rate of adverse effects. Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.