Hypergranulation is a frequent complication of dermatologic surgery, especially when surgical defects are left to heal by secondary intention (eg, after electrodesiccation and curettage). Although management of postoperative hypergranulation with routine wound care, superpotent topical corticosteroids, and/or topical silver nitrate often is effective, refractory cases pose a difficult challenge given the paucity of treatment options. Effective management of these cases is important because hypergranulation can delay wound healing, cause patient discomfort, and lead to poor wound cosmesis.
If refractory hypergranulation fails to respond to treatment with routine wound care and topical silver nitrate, we prescribe twice-daily application of timolol maleate ophthalmic gel forming solution 0.5% for up to 14 days or until complete resolution of the hypergranulation is achieved. We counsel patients to continue routine wound care with daily dressing changes in conjunction with topical timolol application.
We initiated treatment with topical timolol in a patient who developed hypergranulation at 2 separate electrodesiccation and curettage sites that was refractory to 6 weeks of routine wound care with white petrolatum under nonadherent sterile gauze dressings and 2 subsequent topical silver nitrate applications (Figure 1). After 2 weeks of treatment with topical timolol, resolution of the hypergranulation and re-epithelialization of the surgical sites was observed (Figure 2). Another patient presented with hypergranulation that developed following a traumatic injury on the left upper arm and had been treated unsuccessfully for several months at a wound care clinic with daily nonadherent sterile gauze dressings and both topical and oral antibiotics (Figure 3A). After treatment for 9 days with topical timolol, resolution of the hypergranulation and re-epithelialization of the surgical sites was observed (Figure 3B).
Beta-blockers are increasingly being used for management of chronic nonhealing wounds since the 1990s when oral administration of propranolol initially was reported to be an effective adjuvant therapy for managing severe burns.1 Since then, topical beta-blockers have been reported to be effective for management of ulcerated hemangiomas, venous stasis ulcers, chronic diabetic ulcers, and chronic nonhealing surgical wounds; however, there are no known reports of using topical beta-blockers for management of hypergranulation.2-5 We found timolol ophthalmic gel to be an excellent second-line therapy for management of postoperative hypergranulation if prior treatment with routine wound care and superpotent topical corticosteroids has failed. To date, we have found no reported adverse effects from the use of topical timolol for this indication that have required discontinuation of the medication. Use of this simple and safe intervention can be effective as a solution to a common postoperative condition.