Friday, 03 June 2016 07:40

Peripheral nerve regeneration monitoring using multilayer microchannel scaffolds

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Abstract

Over 200,000 Americans have peripheral nerve injuries annually that result in a loss of function and a compromised quality of life. Of these, a significant percent involves unsuccessful repair of peripheral nerve gaps that occur due to traumatic limb injury or collateral damage to peripheral nerves during tumor resection. The clinical gold standard to repair a nerve gap is to use sural nerve autografts. However, autografts are not ideal because of the need for secondary surgery to source the nerve, loss of function at the donor site, lack of source nerve in the event of diabetic neuropathies, neuroma formation, and the need for multiple grafts to bridge nerves. An alternative to autografting that has proved to have significantly less risks and sacrifices is a nerve conduit. While there are some nerve conduits approved for clinical applications (Pabari et al., 2010; Giusti et al., 2012), commercial nerve conduits for nerve repair are usually composed of type I collagen or biodegradable polymers, such that the conduit will degrade once the nerve has healed. Although possible complication from foreign materials is not negligible, nerve conduits have had success in bridging nerve gaps and restoring functionality to limbs. Unlike autografting, it does not require the sacrifice of the donor sural nerve.

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