The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of performing mucosal elevation of a vocal fold microflap in a rabbit model and to measure the acute healing of rabbit microflap incisions compared to control vocal folds.
Prospective animal study.
Ten New Zealand white rabbits were used in this study. All rabbits received a 3-mm incision through the epithelium of one vocal fold using a sickle knife and mucosal elevation through this incision using a microlaryngeal fine-angled spatula. The contralateral vocal fold was left intact to serve as an internal control. Student t tests were used to investigate differences in epithelial thickness, immunohistochemical staining of CD45, and inflammatory and profibrotic gene expression between vocal folds undergoing microflap and control.
Exposure of the rabbit larynx was achieved, allowing for the identification of a surgical plane and the creation of a microflap and elevation of the vocal fold mucosa. Hematoxylin-and-eosin staining revealed no significant differences in epithelial thickness, immunohistochemistry for CD45 showed no significant differences in CD45-positive cells, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction revealed no significant differences in interleukin-1β, transforming growth factor β-1, or cyclooxygenase-2 gene expression between vocal folds undergoing microflap and control.
We demonstrate the feasibility of vocal fold microflap surgery in a rabbit model. With the advantage of greater access to primers and antibodies for molecular biologic studies, the application of the microflap technique in a small-animal model such as rabbit has broad implications for future experimental investigations in laryngology.