This animal study compares different methods of performing an osteotomy, including using an Erbium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet laser, histologically, radiologically and biomechanically. A total of 24 New Zealand rabbits were divided into four groups (Group I: multihole-drilling; Group II: Gigli saw; Group III: electrical saw blade and Group IV: laser). A proximal transverse diaphyseal osteotomy was performed on the right tibias of the rabbits after the application of a circular external fixator. The rabbits were killed six weeks after the procedure, the operated tibias were resected and radiographs taken.
The specimens were tested biomechanically using three-point bending forces, and four tibias from each group were examined histologically. Outcome parameters were the biomechanical stability of the tibias as assessed by the failure to load and radiographic and histological examination of the osteotomy site.
The osteotomies healed in all specimens both radiographically and histologically. The differences in the mean radiographic (p = 0.568) and histological (p = 0.71) scores, and in the mean failure loads (p = 0.180) were not statistically significant between the groups.
Different methods of performing an osteotomy give similar quality of union. The laser osteotomy, which is not widely used in orthopaedics is an alternative to the current methods.