The hypothesis that improved axonal regeneration occurs through nerve grafts when scarred tissue is removed and distal coaptation completed during a delayed, secondary operation was tested in a rabbit model. The ulnar nerve was used as a donor nerve graft to a final three-centimeter deficit of the contralateral median nerve. This was done either in one stage or in two stages, with resection of scar and coaptation at the distal site done ten weeks later. Evaluation included nerve conduction velocity, compound action potential area, muscle contraction force, muscle weight, and axon counts. Two-stage nerve grafts at 24 weeks were significantly inferior to one-stage grafts only in compound action potential area. Both nerve grafts showed significant improvement in function from twenty-four to sixty-two weeks as measured by nerve conduction velocity; two-staged grafts in addition showed a significant increase in compound action potential area and twitch contraction force. The data are inconclusive regarding the absolute superiority of two-stage versus one-stage grafting. Different timing for the second stage may be required.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine