Orally-administered zinc sulfate produced surgical wound healing that was three to four times faster than unmedicated closure in a recent United States Air Force study.
Growing clinical experience tends to confirm a long series of laboratory and animal experiments— precipitated by "serendipitous impressions"—that supplementary zinc accelerates healing.
The clinical trial, using postoperative but otherwise healthy airmen who maintain normal diets and work schedules, "is particularly intriguing since it implies that the requirements for zinc following trauma exceed that supplied by 'normal intake,' " noted Maj Walter J. Pories, USAF (MC).
Initially, sixteen consecutive patients who had undergone excision of chronically draining pilonidal sinuses were studied. All returned to duty within 72 hours after surgery. The wounds were dressed daily and allowed to heal by natural granulation formation (secondary intention).
Six of the men served as controls and were instructed to maintain their usual diets.
The ten remaining airmen had their regular