The place of preoperative acute normovolaemic haemodilution (haematocrit = 28%-32%) in reducing postoperative inflammation was evaluated after facial surgery. Thirty-two patients scheduled for mandibular osteotomy were randomized to a nonhaemodiluted group or to a haemodiluted group. The degree of postoperative inflammation was evaluated: first by an x-ray technique (radiotelemetry) providing measurements of the tissue thickness (quantitation of facial oedema), and
second by the measurement of four acute phase protein plasma concentrations during the first postoperative week. Throughout the study, no changes in facial oedema or in variation of acute phase proteins were detected after haemodilution. It is concluded that acute normovolaemic haemodilution has no effect on the intensity of facial oedema and the biological inflammation process after facial surgery.