Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on early tendon healing in the treatment of Achilles tendon ruptures.
Methods: Fifty-six male Wistar albino rats were randomized and divided into two groups. Intratendinous betamethasone was administered preoperatively for degeneration in 28 rats and isotonic saline injection was administered to the remaining 28 rats. The Achilles tendons of all rats were sutured following tenotomy. Fourteen rats from each group were then selected and received hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The Achilles tendons were removed, biomechanically evaluated and histopathologically studied on the 11th postoperative day. The biomechanical properties and amount of fibrosis, inflammation and vascularization were compared between the groups receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy and those not.
Results: Histopathological study showed the amount of fibrosis was significantly higher in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy group than in the control group without the hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The amount of inflammation and vascularization were significantly higher in the steroid administration group than in the no-steroid group. There was a significant difference in the biomechanical properties of the groups in terms of maximum force, stiffness, elastic modulus and maximum allowable stress.
Conclusion: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy creates a positive histological and biomechanical effect on tendon healing after Achilles tendon repair.