Background When performing septorhinoplasty, deviated segments of septal cartilage can be straightened using cartilage or bone as splinting grafts. In some cases, autologous material is not available without an additional surgical procedure to harvest cartilage or bone. It is possible that resorbable plates can be used to splint and straighten deviated cartilage. Experience using bioresorbable rigid fixation devices on cartilage has been limited.
Objective To examine early histopathologic changes of rabbit ear cartilage and adjacent soft tissue following implantation with bioresorbable plates.
Design Nonrandomized, placebo-controlled trial.
Subjects Twelve adult New Zealand white rabbits.
Materials and Methods Ten adult New Zealand white rabbits (20 ears) underwent stenting of intact ear cartilage with LactoSorb plates (Lorenz, Jacksonville, Fla). Rabbits were killed 28 days after implantation, and the soft tissue, plates, and cartilage were harvested and prepared for histological examination. As controls, 2 rabbits (4 ears) underwent dissection and closure without stenting.
Results Six rabbits experienced superficial skin breakdown on the ventral surface of the ear caused by excessive wound tension of the implant. The cartilage-plate interface and the surrounding soft tissues stenting the dorsal side of the ear remained free of inflammation or necrosis for all animals. Simple elevation of the perichondrium revealed no differences in the appearance of the cartilage between the control and test rabbits.
Conclusions Resorbable plates have no deleterious effects on cartilage during the first month of implantation. While short-term studies have documented the safety and efficacy of using bioresorbable plates, further studies are recommended.