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Original Article
October 1, 2005

Transdermal Sustained-Delivery Oxygen Improves Epithelial Healing in a Rabbit Ear Wound Model

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Wound Healing Research Lab, Division of Plastic Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill.

Arch Surg. 2005;140(10):998-1004. doi:10.1001/archsurg.140.10.998

Hypothesis  Transdermal sustained-delivery oxygen therapy improves wound healing.

Design  Experimental study using a well-established rabbit ear model for acute wound healing.

Setting  Wound-healing research laboratory in a university center.

Methods  Four full-thickness 7-mm punch wounds were created on each ear of young, female New Zealand white rabbits. Treated ears received transdermal sustained delivery of oxygen via silicone tubing tunneled subcutaneously to a pocket under a semiocclusive dressing. Oxygen production (100% oxygen at 3 mL/h continuously) relied on a small, self-contained device connected to the silicone tubing and secured to the rabbit’s back for the duration of the experiment using a body harness. Ears were harvested at each of 2 time points: day 5 and day 8.

Results  Histologic analysis of the wounds showed significantly greater healing at both day 5 and day 8 in response to oxygen therapy. Most significantly, epithelial wound coverage was almost doubled in treated ear wounds when compared with controls.

Conclusion  Our results suggest that epithelial wound healing is improved by transdermal sustained-delivery treatment with 100% oxygen.