Surgical therapy of peripheral nerve lesions: current status and new perspectives

Zentralbl Neurochir. 2007 Aug;68(3):101-10. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-984453. Epub 2007 Jul 30.


The severe functional deficits in patients suffering from traumatic peripheral nerve damage underline the necessity of an optimal therapy. The development of microsurgical techniques in the sixties contributed significantly to the progress in nerve repair. Since then, no major clinical innovation has become established. However, with an increased understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying nerve regeneration, various tubulization concepts have been developed which yield possible alternatives to direct suturing and to autologous nerve grafting in cases of short nerve defects. The vast knowledge gathered in the field of nerve regeneration needs to be further exploited in order to develop alternative therapeutic strategies to nerve autografting, which can result in donor-site defects and often lead to inappropriate results. Considering the encouraging results from preclinical studies, innovative nerve repair strategies are likely to improve the outcome of reconstructive surgical interventions. This paper outlines, in addition to the fundamentals of nerve regeneration, the current treatment options for defects of peripheral nerves. This article also reviews the developments in the use of alternative nerve guides and demonstrates new perspectives in the field of peripheral nerve reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue / transplantation
  • Neurons / transplantation
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / trends*
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries*
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / surgery*
  • Sutures
  • Wound Healing / physiology