OBJECTIVES: This study addresses the impact of stenting on early wound healing after laryngotracheal reconstruction (LTR) in a rabbit model with established subglottic stenosis. METHODS: Subglottic stenosis was created in 42 New Zealand white rabbits through a transoral, endoscopic technique. Three weeks later, endoscopy and axial CT were performed to document and grade the degree of stenosis. Subsequently, LTR was performed in all animals, with half of the animals receiving an intraluminal stent. Four rabbits from each group were euthanized on postoperative days 6, 9, 14, 21, and 28. Measurements of graft vascularization were obtained with a computerized image measurement program, and a comparison was made regarding the rate of vascularization. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant increase in the rate of vascularization in the stented group (mean 75% ± 5% vs 56% ± 3% at day 14; P < 0.05). However, clinical and radiographic comparisons of the stented and nonstented specimens revealed a trend toward increased mucosal edema and granulation tissue in the stented group at later time intervals (days 21 and 28). CONCLUSION: This analysis suggests that stenting does not inhibit graft vascularization in the early postoperative period after LTR; however, complications were seen in the stented group at longer time intervals.
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