Peripheral nerve injury and repair

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2000 Jul-Aug;8(4):243-52. doi: 10.5435/00124635-200007000-00005.


Peripheral nerve injuries are common, and there is no easily available formula for successful treatment. Incomplete injuries are most frequent. Seddon classified nerve injuries into three categories: neurapraxia, axonotmesis, and neurotmesis. After complete axonal transection, the neuron undergoes a number of degenerative processes, followed by attempts at regeneration. A distal growth cone seeks out connections with the degenerated distal fiber. The current surgical standard is epineurial repair with nylon suture. To span gaps that primary repair cannot bridge without excessive tension, nerve-cable interfascicular auto-grafts are employed. Unfortunately, results of nerve repair to date have been no better than fair, with only 50% of patients regaining useful function. There is much ongoing research regarding pharmacologic agents, immune system modulators, enhancing factors, and entubulation chambers. Clinically applicable developments from these investigations will continue to improve the results of treatment of nerve injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Nerve Transfer / methods
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries*
  • Peripheral Nerves / anatomy & histology
  • Peripheral Nerves / surgery*
  • Peripheral Nerves / transplantation
  • Recovery of Function
  • Suture Techniques
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods
  • Transplantation, Homologous / methods
  • Treatment Outcome