THE EPINEURAL SLEEVE TECHNIQUE FOR NERVE GRAFT RECONSTRUCTION ENHANCES NERVE RECOVERY


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Abstract

The purpose of the study was evaluation of nerve recovery following epineural sleeve technique for graft reconstruction in rat sciatic nerve. This technique provides the epineural sleeve to cover and separate the site of coaptation. Animals were divided into three groups: CNG-conventional nerve grafting, ESN-epineural sleeve from recipient nerve stumps, ESG-epineural sleeve from graft. Nerve regeneration was evaluated by pin-prick, toe-spread test, walking track analysis and somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEP), gastrocnemius index (GI), and histomorphometric evaluation. Most parameters (SFI, SEPs, and GI) showed significantly better nerve recovery for ESN group when compared to conventional CNG group. Also ESG group revealed better result for SFI. Better functional results for ESN and ESG groups were further confirmed by histomorphometric analysis: higher axon density and diameters as well as thicker myelin sheath. Epineural sleeve graft technique may be promising method with potential application for nerve reconstructive procedures. Better functional nerve recovery can be anticipated.

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