Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Charlotte Greene, PhD

Second Advisor

Marcus Bell, PhD

Third Advisor

David Cavanagh, BS


The repair of gastrocnemius muscle incisions were evaluated histologically in a rat model. Comparisons were made between carbon dioxide laser and scalpel incisions closed with sutures prepared from Swine Intestinal Submucosa (SIS) with and without added Nerve Growth Factor. This study was conducted in conjunction with two other studies, one comparing epidermal repair and the other comparing kinesthetic changes post-operatively in the same animal model. Thirty-five days post-surgery the animals were euthanized and an area of muscular tissue encompassing the operative site was excised and evaluated microscopically for the following: presence of macrophages, integrity of the muscle, leukocytes present within the muscle, presence of vasculature within the muscle, and granulation tissue width. The evaluation of healing as reflected by degree of muscle integrity demonstrated that added growth factor improved healing regardless of modality while the laser plus growth factor demonstrated the highest degree of muscle integrity. While the increase in vasculature was greatest for the healed scalpel incisions, the laser groups in general showed greater increases in the width of the muscle, number of macrophages. All four groups had an increased number of leukocytes. This study and previous studies have shown that muscle regeneration is significantly increased with the addition of GF. The differences observed between these two surgical techniques suggest that one or the other can be appropriately selected depending upon the characteristics of the repair goals that are being sought. The full potential for clinical application of these repair modalities will only be realized with additional studies, which explore the healing mechanism to a greater depth and for many different types of tissues.