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Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2012 Jan-Feb;14(1):52-8. doi: 10.1001/archfacial.2011.61. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

Laser facial nerve welding in a rabbit model.

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  • 1Division of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology, New York University Langone Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA. bloomj@gmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the feasibility of laser tissue welding for repair of facial nerve injury.

METHODS:

In a prospective in vivo animal survival surgery model, rabbit facial nerve injury was followed by either standard suture neurorrhaphy or laser tissue welding using a diode laser (808 ± 1 nm) to weld biological solder. Rabbits were evaluated at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks by facial videography and electromyography. Histopathological analysis of the repair was performed at 4 and 16 weeks.

RESULTS:

Videographic analysis demonstrated the laser tissue welding repair trended toward superior outcomes compared with suture neurorrhaphy at all 4 time points. Electrophysiological analysis demonstrated similar or better results, with statistically significant improvement at week 16 (P < .05). Histologic analysis demonstrated no difference in axon organization or extravasation between groups; however, the laser nerve repair created a greater initial inflammatory reaction. An analysis of operative time demonstrated significantly decreased time and ease of use for laser tissue welding.

CONCLUSIONS:

This pilot study demonstrates that laser nerve welding may be an expedient, feasible, and safe method for facial nerve repair in a rabbit model. Further experiments with larger numbers are needed to provide additional evidence that laser tissue welding produces a neurorrhaphy that has functional, electrophysiological, and histological results that could rival traditional suture neurorrhaphy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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