The Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Composite Graft Survival

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Abstract

Auricular composite grafts are a useful reconstructive option, particularly for nasal reconstruction. This study evaluates the effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy on auricular composite graft survival in rabbits. Circular chondrocutaneous composite grafts of 0.5, 1, or 2 cm in diameter were resected from the ears of rabbits. The grafts were sutured back into position. Half the rabbits in each group received HBO postoperatively, consisting of 90 minutes at 2.4 atm. Rabbits received 7 treatments in 5 days. Control rabbits did not receive HBO. On day 21 the percentage area of graft survival was calculated from gross and histologic examination. Two-centimeter grafts treated with HBO (n = 8) had a mean graft survival rate of 85.8 ± 15.7% compared with a survival rate of 51.31 ± 38.5% for the control group (n = 8; P = 0.0478). There was no such benefit in smaller grafts. HBO could prove clinically useful for larger composite grafts.

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