Purpose: To determine if hyperbaric oxygen therapy affects the rate of hydroxyapatite orbital implant vascularization in normal rabbit orbits. Methods: We performed a randomized comparative experimental pilot study involving 6 rabbits. All rabbits were enucleated and implanted with hydroxyapatite orbital spheres. The animals were randomized for enucleation of the right or left eye and for treatment or nontreatment (control) with hyperbaric oxygen. The implants were removed after 3 weeks of treatment and histologically examined for fibrovascular ingrowth, inflammation, and multinucleated giant cells. Each parameter was graded on a numeric scale and analyzed. Results: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy did not increase implant vascularization compared with nontreatment implants. Although treated implants had less central fibrovascular maturity compared with control implants, the difference was not statistically significant (p < 0.055). There was no significant difference in inflammation or the number of multinucleated giant cells between treated and control implants. Conclusions: In this pilot study, hyperbaric oxygen therapy did not increase hydroxyapatite vascular ingrowth and possibly delayed fibrovascular maturation in normal sockets. Further studies with more subject numbers are needed to confirm these conclusions. The effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in vascularly compromised sockets also needs to be determined.
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