UK study shows promise for new nerve repair technique

August 08, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) ­- A multicenter study including University of Kentucky researchers found that a new nerve repair technique yields better results and fewer side effects than other existing techniques.

Traumatic nerve injuries are common, and when nerves are severed, they do not heal on their own and must be repaired surgically. Injuries that are not clean-cut - such as saw injuries, farm equipment injuries, and gunshot wounds - may result in a gap in the nerve.

To fill these gaps, surgeons have traditionally used two methods: a nerve autograft (bridging the gap with a patient's own nerve taken from elsewhere in the body), which leads to a nerve deficit at the donor site; or nerve conduits (synthetic tubes), which can cause foreign body reactions or infections.

The prospective, randomized study, conducted by UK Medical Director of Hand Surgery Service Dr. Brian Rinker and others, compared the nerve conduit to a newer technique called a nerve allograft. The nerve allograft uses human nerves harvested from cadavers. The nerves are processed to remove all cellular material, preserving their architecture while preventing disease transmission or allergic reactions.

Participants with nerve injuries were randomized into either conduit or allograft repair groups. Following the surgeries, independent blind observers performed standardized assessments at set time points to determine the degree of sensory or motor recovery.

The results of the study suggested that nerve allografts had more consistent results and produced better outcomes than nerve conduits, while avoiding the donor site morbidity of a nerve autograft.

Rinker, a principal investigator of the study, describes it as a "game-changer."

"Nerve grafting has remained relatively unchanged for nearly 100 years, and both of the existing nerve repair options had serious drawbacks," Rinker said. "Our study showed that the new technique processed nerve allograft ­- provides a better, more predictable and safer nerve gap repair compared to the previous techniques."

Rinker also noted that work is underway to engineer nerve allografts with growth factors which would guide and promote nerve regeneration, theoretically leading to even faster recoveries and better results.
-end-
Other medical centers participating in the trial included the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center in Indianapolis, Georgia Hand, Shoulder and Elbow in Atlanta, and the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore.

The study was funded by Axogen, Inc. Results were presented at the Annual Combined Meeting of the American Association for Hand Surgery, American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the American Society of the Peripheral Nerve. Rinker's paper was voted Outstanding Paper of the Joint Session.

University of Kentucky

Related Injuries Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 frequently causes neurological injuries
Without directly invading the brain or nerves, the virus responsible for COVID-19 causes potentially damaging neurological injuries in about one in seven infected, a new study shows.

Head and neck injuries make up nearly 28% of all electric scooter accident injuries
A Henry Ford study is sounding the alarm on the rise of electric scooter injuries, and particularly head and neck injuries, since the 2017 introduction of e-scooter rideshare programs in urban centers.

Reasons for football injuries
If professional footballers are out of action due to injuries, this can have serious consequences for the club.

Glass tables can cause life-threatening injuries
Faulty glass in tables can cause life-threatening injuries, according to a Rutgers study, which provides evidence that stricter federal regulations are needed to protect consumers.

Concerns over police head injuries
Head injuries may be worryingly common among police officers, according to a new pilot study led by the University of Exeter.

Firework-related eye injuries
Emergency department data were used to describe the number, type, severity and factors associated with firework-related eye injuries that occurred in the United States from 1999 to 2017.

Injuries from motorized scooters
Motorized scooters are increasingly popular and, in this study, researchers analyzed medical information for 61 adults who visited a single emergency department with scooter-related injuries.

Children's fingertip injuries could signal abuse
Many children who suffer fingertip injuries have been abused, according to a Rutgers study.

Cell phone injuries
Cell phones are mainstays of daily life. This observational study analyzed 20 years of data on people who went to emergency departments with head and neck injuries from cell phone use to estimate the number of injuries, learn what types of injuries there were, and understand how the injuries occurred, such as from distracted driving or walking.

New study looks at motorized scooter injuries
More than half of people who received X-rays or CT scans after electric scooter accidents were found to have injuries, most commonly to the upper extremities, according to a new study.

Read More: Injuries News and Injuries Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.