Long-term in vivo electromechanical reshaping for auricular reconstruction in the New Zealand white rabbit model.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Laryngoscope (2015)


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To demonstrate the dosimetry effect of electromechanical reshaping (EMR) on cartilage shape change, structural integrity, cellular viability, and remodeling of grafts in an in vivo long-term animal model.

STUDY DESIGN: Animal study.

METHODS: A subperichondrial cartilaginous defect was created within the base of the pinna of 31 New Zealand white rabbits. Autologous costal cartilage grafts were electromechanically reshaped to resemble the rabbit auricular base framework and mechanically secured into the pinna base defect. Forty-nine costal cartilage specimens (four control and 45 experimental) successfully underwent EMR using a paired set of voltage-time combinations and survived for 6 or 12 weeks. Shape change was measured, and specimens were analyzed using digital imaging, tissue histology, and confocal microscopy with LIVE-DEAD viability assays.

RESULTS: Shape change was proportional to charge transfer in all experimental specimens (Pā€‰<ā€‰.01) and increased with voltage. All experimental specimens contoured to the auricular base. Focal cartilage degeneration and fibrosis was observed where needle electrodes were inserted, ranging from 2.2 to 3.9 mm. The response to injury increased with increasing charge transfer and survival duration.

CONCLUSIONS: EMR results in appropriate shape change in cartilage grafts with chondrocyte injury highly localized. These studies suggest that elements of auricular reconstruction may be feasible using EMR. Extended survival periods and further optimization of voltage-time pairs are necessary to evaluate the long-term effects and shape-change potential of EMR.

LEVELS OF EVIDENCE: NA Laryngoscope, 2015.