The principles of distraction osteogenesis have been successfully applied to the craniofacial skeleton of different animals. The rabbit, in particular, has been evaluated as a model by enumerable authors. To our knowledge, however, none of the studies either report the causes of premature euthanization or the pitfalls leading to the untimely death of the animal. We here describe our experience with 30 rabbits used as a model for mandibular distraction osteogenesis and suggest precautions to take in order to avoid unforeseen problems. Thirty skeletally mature New Zealand white rabbits were used. Fifteen animals had bilateral distraction devices placed on the anterior mandible, and another 15 underwent unilateral distraction osteogenesis. In both groups, 12 animals were euthanized prematurely due to complications that included excessive weight loss (malnutrition), anesthesia/animal-related problems, and distraction device failure. The remaining 18 animals tolerated the operative procedure well. Indisputably, rabbit is an excellent choice for craniofacial experiments, but because of its complex anatomy and physiology, an unexpected outcome frequently occurs. We believe that the following suggestions in relation to the pre-operative selection of a suitable animal model, operative technique, and management of eating problems may help the researcher to choose an appropriate animal and avoid complications leading to early death.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2010
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