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Original Article
September 2006

Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen to Enhance Auricular Composite Graft Survival in the Rabbit Model

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology (Dr Deschler), Department of Otology and Laryngology (Drs Lewis, Goldztein, and Deschler), Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Correspondence: Daniel Deschler, MD, Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Department of Otology and Laryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114 (daniel_deschler@meei.harvard.edu).

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2006;8(5):310-313. doi:10.1001/archfaci.8.5.310

Objective  To evaluate the efficacy of using hyperbaric oxygen to enhance auricular composite graft survival via a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

Design  Eighteen New Zealand White rabbits were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 9) and control (n = 9) groups after amputation and reattachment of 20 × 10-mm auricular composite grafts. The treatment group received twice-daily hyperbaric oxygen treatments for 5 days. The control group received twice-daily hyperbaric room-air treatments for 5 days. After 21 days, digital photographs of the composite grafts were taken and compared with photographs taken on the day of surgery. From these photographs, digital imaging software was used to calculate the percentage of graft survival.

Results  The treated group (18 ears) had a mean ± SD graft survival area of 80.67% ± 19%, whereas the control group (18 ears) had a mean ± SD graft survival area of 26.33% ± 29%. Variance analysis with the Snedecor test allowed the comparison of the groups. The paired, 2-tailed t test proved a significant difference (P<.001) between groups.

Conclusion  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an effective way to enhance the survival of 2-cm auricular composite grafts.