Submitted by TPMJB t3_10wjphe in askscience

Something I always wondered was why anabolic steroids or HGH are never prescribed to speed up graft incorporation or wound healing. They got a lot of bad press after both were seen as giving athletes unfair advantages, but I don't think we should let that get in the way of a medicine that has its uses.

The longer it takes for a graft to heal, the greater chance a patient can re-injure it.

Edit: Found an interesting paper on the topic that AAS improve recovery time:

But I imagine the stigma of a roided out patient prevents widespread clinical use.



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DoomGoober t1_j7oh23l wrote

Using rats, there is evidence that anabolic steroids can help speed muscle injury healing:

However anabolic steroids had little effect on healing pressure ulcers (bed sores):


TPMJB OP t1_j7oks5c wrote

Ah, good show! I'd be curious how it affects something like ACL surgery recovery time.


steeltowndude t1_j7onfl2 wrote

(Neither a doctor nor scientist) My first assumption would be that it would actually pose additional threat of re-injury. Tendon injuries, for example, are more common in AAS users, I would assume because the strength of the muscles progresses at a rate at which the tendons can't keep up (not sure if the exact reason why has been studied). AAS would allow one to regain muscle mass and strength quickly during recovery, but it's not doing much for the thing that you tore in the first place.


GeriatricHydralisk t1_j7p82qz wrote

Tendons heal and remodel slowly simply because they're mostly collagen with very few cells, compared to muscle (almost all cells) and bone (which has a surprisingly high number of cells). Even with every cell working flat-out to fix/alter the tendon, there's just soooo much collagen and so few cells that it takes forever.


PBR2019 t1_j7qct74 wrote

This is why a combo of hGH and AAS with supplementation works wonders at healing tendons and ligaments


folstar t1_j7qx19x wrote

Society. Steroids and HGH have wild potential for improving the human condition, but instead what we got was Congress investigating cheating in baseball and passing some wrong-minded legislation* and serious social stigma (thanks, infotainment!) to prevent further cheating in hitting a ball with a stick.

This is, admittedly, oversimplified. It is also close to the truth.

^(*targeting drugs- can you believe it?!)


Sir-Kevly t1_j7s2rmd wrote

To be fair, the use of PEDs in sports creates a dangerous situation where people who wouldn't otherwise use them are forced to use them in order to compete. It happened in professional cycling with EPO doping and cyclists were dying of heart failure left right and centre.


folstar t1_j7s76iu wrote

Sure, but a dangerous situation for the 0.01% (or less) of people who play a sport at top competitive levels versus the easily double-digit percentage of people whose lives could be improved immediately with a more reasonable and scientific approach to what has become a vapid talking point.

And really, those athletes would probably be better off with a reasonable legal framework about PEDs instead of the black market and misinformation prohibition offers.


mothernectar t1_j7rzx8p wrote

The only thing I can think of here is because in the case where there is an open wound or anything at risk of being infected - you would want to avoid steroids. Steroids help inflammation but they can reduce your immune systems ability to fight infections. My best guess? But I really don’t know.