Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen on Survival of the Composite Ear Graft in Rats

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Abstract

In this study the authors set out to determine whether postoperative hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy increases the survival rate of the composite graft in the rat ear model. A composite graft (1 x 0.5 cm2) that included skin, subcutaneous tissue, and cartilage was created from the left ear, and was transferred onto the posterior auricular site of the right ear. The animals were divided into two groups: a control group (N = 10) and an experimental group receiving HBO (N = 10). The experimental group was given HBO immediately following reattachment for 4 hours, and then for 6 hours each day for 5 days (2 atm). The results showed the average ear flap survival area in the experimental group was 82%, and it was 26.5% in the control group (p < 0.01). Histology demonstrated the existence of neovascularization in the experimental group. We have concluded that postoperative HBO therapy increases the survival of the rat ear composite graft, and that the effect of this therapy is influenced by the magnitude (size and thickness) of the graft.

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