Efficacy of steroids and hyperbaric oxygen on survival of dorsal skin flaps in rats.
This study was designed to determine if steroids improved skin flap survival in rats, and if steroids and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) showed an additive beneficial effect. Cranially based, 3 x 9 cm dorsal skin flaps were raised in 60 adult rats. All animals received either intramuscular methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg) or an equal volume of intramuscular saline solution placebo 24 hours and 1 hour before, and 24 hours and 48 hours after, flap elevation. Treatment for animals receiving HBO was begun within 5 hours after flap elevation. The regimen consisted of two 90-minute treatments of 100% oxygen at 2.4 atm separated by 5-hour intervals or room air per day for 3 consecutive days. The 60 rats were divided equally into four treatment groups, as follows: group A, flap elevation alone (control); group B, flap plus steroids; group C, flap plus HBO; and group D, flap plus steroids plus HBO. Surviving flap length was measured by visual inspection 7 days after flap elevation. The mean surviving flap length for group A was 4.9 cm, for group B it was 6.4 cm, for group C it was 6.7 cm, and for group D it was 6.5 cm. The approximately 30% to 36% improvement in surviving flap length was highly statistically significant (p less than 0.006) when compared with controls. However, no statistically significant difference was found between the three treatment modalities. These findings indicate that in a rat dorsal skin flap model, perioperative steroids improve skin flap viability, and that steroids alone are as efficacious as HBO and as steroids combined with HBO.
Esclamado, RM; Larrabee, WF; Zel, GE
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