Bone Healing of Tibial Lengthening Is Enhanced by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: A Study of Bone Mineral Density and Torsional Strength on Rabbits

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Abstract

We investigated the effect of intermittent hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy on the bone healing of tibial lengthening in rabbits.Twelve male rabbits were divided into two groups of six animals each. The first group went through 2.5 atmospheres absolute of hyperbaric oxygenation for 2 hours daily, and the second group did not go through hyperbaric oxygenation. Each animal's right tibia was lengthened 5 mm using an uniplanar lengthening device. Bone mineral density (BMD) study was performed for all of the animals at 1 day before operation and at 3, 4, 5, and 6 weeks after operation. All of the animals were killed at 6 weeks postoperatively for biomechanical testing. Using the preoperative BMD as an internal control, we found that the BMD of the HBO group was increased significantly compared with the non HBO group. The mean %BMD at 3, 4, 5, and 6 weeks were 69.5%, 80.1%, 87.8%, and 96.9%, respectively, in HBO group, whereas the mean %BMD were 51.6%, 67.7%, 70.5%, and 79.2%, respectively, in non-HBO group (two tailed t test, p < 0.01, p < 0.01, p < 0.01, and p < 0.01 at 3, 4, 5, and 6 weeks, respectively). Using the contralateral nonoperated tibia as an internal control, we found that torsional strength of lengthened tibia of the HBO group was increased significantly compared with the non-HBO group. The mean percent of maximal torque was 88.6% in HBO group at 6 weeks, whereas the mean percent of maximal torque was 76.0% in non-HBO group (two-tailed t test, p < 0.01). The results of this study suggest that the bone healing of tibial lengthening is enhanced by intermittent hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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