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Effect of Nitroglycerin Ointment on Mastectomy Flap Necrosis

This study has been completed.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First Posted: May 31, 2012
Last Update Posted: September 10, 2014
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of British Columbia


Mastectomy flap necrosis (MFN) is a common complication that affects recovery, reconstructive success and aesthetic outcome. Nitroglycerin (NTG) ointment is a potent topical vasodilator that increases local blood flow by dilating arteries and veins without altering the ratio of pre- to post-capillary resistance. There are no studies that evaluate whether the application of NTG ointment in patients undergoing Skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM) or nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) and immediate reconstruction decreases the rate of mastectomy flap necrosis.


To evaluate if the post-operative application of NTG ointment improve rates of MFN in patients undergoing SSM or NSM with immediate breast reconstruction compared to patients receiving placebo.


In patients undergoing SSM and immediate breast reconstruction there will be a decrease in the rate of MFN in those who receive NTG ointment compared to those who receive placebo.

Condition Intervention
Mastectomy Flap Necrosis Drug: nitroglycerin ointment Drug: Polysporin ointment

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effect of Nitroglycerin Ointment on Mastectomy Flap Necrosis

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of British Columbia:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mastectomy Flap Necrosis [ Time Frame: 1 month post operative ]

Enrollment: 154
Study Start Date: August 2012
Study Completion Date: June 2014
Primary Completion Date: March 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: Polysporin Control
Patients in control group will receive polysporin ointment application. Polysporin ointment will be made to look like Nitroglycerin ointment.
Drug: Polysporin ointment
Polysporin ointment will be applied as the control ointment on the mastectomy flap skin at the end of surgery. A maximum of 7.5cm strip of ointment will be applied to the skin.
Active Comparator: Nitroglycerin
Patients in treatment group will receive nitroglycerin ointment application
Drug: nitroglycerin ointment
Nitroglycerin ointment will be applied to mastectomy skin flaps at the end of surgery. A maximum of 7.5cm strip of 2% Nitroglycerin ointment will be applied (equivalent to a maximal dose of 45mg)


Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients who undergo SSM or NSM with immediate alloplastic or autologous breast reconstruction
  • Unilateral and bilateral cases (in bilateral cases only the mastectomy performed by the general surgeon will be included. This will avoid the potential effect of absorption of nitroglycerin from one breast to the other)
  • Patients older than 21 and less than 65

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patient declining inclusion in the study
  • Patient with medical history that precludes the administration of nitroglycerin, i.e. a medical history significant for

    • Acute circulatory failure accompanied by clear hypotension
    • Myocardial insufficiency related to obstruction
    • Use of sildenafil, vardenafil & tadalafil
    • Use of beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics or phenothiazides
    • Salicylates (ASA)
    • Alteplase
    • Recent history of MI or cardiac insufficiency
    • Anemia, severe
    • Cerebral hemorrhage or recent head trauma
    • Glaucoma
    • Hepatic function impairment, severe
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Hypotension
    • Sensitivity to nitrites
  • Patient with a history of mantle radiation
  • Patient with an allergy to polysporin or any of its ingredients
  Contacts and Locations
Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01608880

Canada, British Columbia
Mount Saint Joseph Hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5T 3N4
Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5Z 1M9
University of British Columbia Hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 2B5
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of British Columbia
Principal Investigator: Sheina Macadam, MD, MSc, FRCSC University of British Columbia
Principal Investigator: Perry Gdalevitch, MD, FRCSC University of British Columbia
  More Information

Kutun S, Ay AA, Ulucanlar H, Tarcan O, Ay A, Aldan M, Gorkem G, Demir A, Cetin A. Is transdermal nitroglycerin application effective in preventing and healing flap ischaemia after modified radical mastectomy? S Afr J Surg. 2010 Nov;48(4):119-21.
Fan Z, He J. Preventing necrosis of the skin flaps with nitroglycerin after radical resection for breast cancer. J Surg Oncol. 1993 Jul;53(3):210.
Rohrich RJ, Cherry GW, Spira M. Enhancement of skin-flap survival using nitroglycerin ointment. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1984 Jun;73(6):943-8.
Wong AF, McCulloch LM, Sola A. Treatment of peripheral tissue ischemia with topical nitroglycerin ointment in neonates. J Pediatr. 1992 Dec;121(6):980-3.
Jones JT, Stenson MA, Spannagel BD, Robinson DD. Treatment of pressure ulcers with nitropaste. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1997 Jul;45(7):895.
Nelson R. Non surgical therapy for anal fissure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Oct 18;(4):CD003431. Review. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;2:CD003431.
Fenton C, Wellington K, Easthope SE. 0.4% nitroglycerin ointment : in the treatment of chronic anal fissure pain. Drugs. 2006;66(3):343-9. Review.
Rao R, Saint-Cyr M, Ma AM, Bowling M, Hatef DA, Andrews V, Xie XJ, Zogakis T, Rohrich R. Prediction of post-operative necrosis after mastectomy: a pilot study utilizing optical diffusion imaging spectroscopy. World J Surg Oncol. 2009 Nov 25;7:91. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-7-91.
Losken A, Styblo TM, Schaefer TG, Carlson GW. The use of fluorescein dye as a predictor of mastectomy skin flap viability following autologous tissue reconstruction. Ann Plast Surg. 2008 Jul;61(1):24-9. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e318156621d.
Chun YS, Verma K, Rosen H, Lipsitz SR, Breuing K, Guo L, Golshan M, Grigorian N, Eriksson E. Use of tumescent mastectomy technique as a risk factor for native breast skin flap necrosis following immediate breast reconstruction. Am J Surg. 2011 Feb;201(2):160-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.12.011. Epub 2010 Apr 20.
Antony AK, Mehrara BM, McCarthy CM, Zhong T, Kropf N, Disa JJ, Pusic A, Cordeiro PG. Salvage of tissue expander in the setting of mastectomy flap necrosis: a 13-year experience using timed excision with continued expansion. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Aug;124(2):356-63. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181aee9a3.
Kroll SS, Ames F, Singletary SE, Schusterman MA. The oncologic risks of skin preservation at mastectomy when combined with immediate reconstruction of the breast. Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1991 Jan;172(1):17-20.
Patani N, Mokbel K. Oncological and aesthetic considerations of skin-sparing mastectomy. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Oct;111(3):391-403. Epub 2007 Oct 28. Review.
Foster RD, Esserman LJ, Anthony JP, Hwang ES, Do H. Skin-sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction: a prospective cohort study for the treatment of advanced stages of breast carcinoma. Ann Surg Oncol. 2002 Jun;9(5):462-6.
Garwood ER, Moore D, Ewing C, Hwang ES, Alvarado M, Foster RD, Esserman LJ. Total skin-sparing mastectomy: complications and local recurrence rates in 2 cohorts of patients. Ann Surg. 2009 Jan;249(1):26-32. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31818e41a7.
Sacchini V, Pinotti JA, Barros AC, Luini A, Pluchinotta A, Pinotti M, Boratto MG, Ricci MD, Ruiz CA, Nisida AC, Veronesi P, Petit J, Arnone P, Bassi F, Disa JJ, Garcia-Etienne CA, Borgen PI. Nipple-sparing mastectomy for breast cancer and risk reduction: oncologic or technical problem? J Am Coll Surg. 2006 Nov;203(5):704-14. Epub 2006 Sep 11.
Crowe JP, Patrick RJ, Yetman RJ, Djohan R. Nipple-sparing mastectomy update: one hundred forty-nine procedures and clinical outcomes. Arch Surg. 2008 Nov;143(11):1106-10; discussion 1110. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.143.11.1106.

Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: University of British Columbia
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01608880     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: H12-01161
First Submitted: May 28, 2012
First Posted: May 31, 2012
Last Update Posted: September 10, 2014
Last Verified: September 2014

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Pathologic Processes
Polymyxin B
Vasodilator Agents
Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Anti-Infective Agents
Anti-Bacterial Agents

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