Nerve Allograft Transplantation: A Review

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Peripheral nerves that are interrupted by trauma or surgical resection require reapproximation of their ends. When primary repair cannot be performed without undue tension, nerve grafting is required. Nerve repair with autograft is limited when there is insufficient amount of autologous nerves available for large nerve defects. This encouraged the search for alternative means of reconstruction in extensive nerve injuries. The cadaveric nerve allograft provides an unlimited graft source without the morbidities associated with autograft reconstruction; but these grafts are rapidly rejected unless appropriate recipient immunosuppression is achieved. An optimal treatment method for nerve allograft transplantation must minimize or prevent rejection while permitting nerve regeneration at the same time. In this report, the literature of nerve allograft transplantation experimental studies, strategies to prevent nerve allograft rejection, and reported clinical experiences are reviewed.

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