Promoting Neurological Recovery following A Traumatic Peripheral Nerve Injury

Onix Reyes, Iván Sosa, Damién P. Kuffler


If a peripheral nerve is crushed, or if the nerve is cut and the ends sutured together soon after the lesion (anastomosed), neurological recovery is good. When a length of a peripheral nerve is destroyed, and anastomosis is not possible, the standard surgical repair technique is to graft a length/s of sensory nerve from the patient, into the gap. For gaps < 2 cm neurological recovery is moderate, for gaps 2-4 cm recovery is generally poor, and for gaps > 4 cm recovery is limited to non-existent. The limited recovery is because sensory nerves act as passive scaffolds for axon regeneration and do not actively promote axon regeneration. However, such grafts remain the “gold standard” for nerve repairs. New techniques are required that induce improved neurological recovery. This paper reviews current clinical and basic research techniques for inducing neurological recovery following traumatic peripheral nerve injuries.

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