Background: [corrected] Nerve grafting is the most reliable used procedure to bridge a neural defect, but it is associated with donor site morbidity. In experimental surgery the search for an optimal nerve conduit led to the use of biological and artificial material. Nerve regeneration through epineural conduits for bridging short nerve defect was examined.
Methods: Four groups including 126 New Zealand rabbits were used. There were 3 study groups (A, B and C) and 1 control group (D). A 10-mm long sciatic nerve defect was bridged either with 3 variations of an epineural flap (Groups A, B and C) or with a nerve graft (Group D). Animals from all groups were examined 21, 42 and 91 days postoperatively to evaluate nerve regeneration employing light microscopy and immunocytochemistry. Nerve regeneration was studied in transverse sections at 3, 6 and 9 mm from the proximal stump. Using muscle stimulator the gastrocnemius contractility was examined at 91 days post surgery in all groups.
Findings: Immunohistochemical and functional evaluation showed nerve regeneration resembling the control group, especially in group A, were an advancement epineural flap was used.
Conclusion: An epineurial flap can be used to bridge a nerve defect with success.