Biomechanical characterization of vaginal versus abdominal surgical wound healing in the rabbit

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Abstract

Objective

The objective of the study was to compare biomechanical properties of vaginal versus abdominal surgical wound healing in the rabbit.

Study design

Bilateral 6-mm full-thickness circular segments were excised from the vagina and abdominal skin in 38 New Zealand White female rabbits. Animals were killed 0, 4, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days after wounding, and the wounds were assessed for surface area and tensile properties.

Results

Wound closure and scar contraction were significantly faster in the vagina than the abdomen (P = .001). Baseline tensile strength (P = .05), modulus (P = .001), and tensile energy to break (P = .18) were higher in the abdomen, whereas maximal tissue elongation was higher in the vagina (P = .13). After wounding, a drop in tensile strength, modulus, and tensile energy to break was observed in both tissues through postwounding day 4, followed by a progressive recovery of these properties. A progressive loss of elasticity was noted in both tissues after wounding.

Conclusion

The surgical wound closes and contracts faster in the rabbit vagina than in its abdomen. Although these tissues have different biomechanical properties at baseline, they regenerate their tensile strength and lose their elasticity at a similar rate.

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