EFFECTS OF DICING AND DIFFERENT DEGREES OF CRUSHING ON VIABILITY OF AURICULAR CARTILAGE OF RABBITS AFTER REIMPLANTATION
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Cartilage grafting has been used extensively to correct nasal framework deformities and irregularities which often become apparent after edema subsides. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of dicing and different degrees of crushing on cartilage graft viability and outcome. Methods: Cartilage was harvested from both ears of 48 rabbits. For each animal, 6 cartilage pieces without perichondrium each lcmxlcm were prepared and inserted as follows into the paraspinal subcutaneous tissue: (1) left intact, (2) diced to approximately Ixlmm pieces and then wrapped in oxidized regenerated cellulose (surgicell) (3) slightly crushed, (4) moderately crushed, (5) significantly crushed, and (6) severely crushed. Animals were killed at 3, 6 and 9 months, and graft specimens were reassessed for area of graft recovered and microscopically examined. Results: Data collected from 42 rabbits as 6 had died. As crushing intensity rose, cartilage viability decreased and more cartilage tissue was transformed to connective tissue. The intact and slightly crashed grafts showed significant chondrocyte proliferation. This decreased as crushing intensity increased, and the severely crushed and diced cellulose-wrapped grafts exhibited almost no peripheral chondrocyte proliferation. Conclusions: Slight crushing of a cartilage graft can produce outstanding graft material that forms softer nasal contours and fills defects well. However, severe crashing of cartilage grafts results in extensive necrosis and eventual reduction in graft volume. The use of oxidized regenerated cellulose to wrap diced cartilage grafts also tends to reduce clinical predictability owing to negative effects on cartilage viability and regeneration.