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October 1995

Composite Graft SurvivalAn Auricular Amputation Model

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(10):1137-1142. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890100049008

Objective:  To study the effects of corticosteroids and fibroblast growth factor on composite graft survival using a rabbit model of auricular amputation and reimplantation.

Design:  Randomized, "blinded," placebo-controlled, prospective animal study.

Setting:  Animal laboratory in tertiary care center.

Intervention:  Amputation of the distal 2 cm of the rabbit ear as a composite graft and reimplantation with simple 6-0 prolene sutures. All animals underwent the same surgical procedure and were randomized into the following four groups: (1) surgical reimplantation alone; (2) 30 mg/kg intramuscular methylprednisolone sodium succinate for 5 days, starting immediately postoperatively; (3) topical basic fibroblast growth factor for 5 days postoperatively; and (4) delayed reimplantation with corticosteroids. In group 4, the ears of the animal were amputated, placed in iced saline containers for 90 minutes, and given 30 mg/kg intramuscular methylprednisolone for 5 days, with the first dose starting immediately prior to reimplantation.

Main Outcome Measures:  Percentage graft survival and histologic characteristics of viable and nonviable composite graft tissue.

Results:  The groups that received corticosteroids and delayed reimplantation with corticosteroids had a statistically significant increase in percentage of graft survival compared with the control group (P<.003 and P<.006, respectively). The growth factor group showed no significant difference from the control group.

Conclusion:  Neovascularization occurred in the viable grafts, thus suggesting its role in graft survival. This study establishes the efficacy of corticosteroids in enhancing composite graft survival.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:1137-1142)