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Keywords:

  • Microflap;
  • vocal fold;
  • rabbit;
  • wound healing;
  • gene expression;
  • Level of Evidence: 3b. Individual case-control study

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

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.

Study Design:

Prospective animal study.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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.