Peripheral nerve injuries: an international survey of current treatments and future perspectives

J Reconstr Microsurg. 2009 Jul;25(6):339-44. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1215529. Epub 2009 Mar 19.


Peripheral nerve injuries are a serious health concern and leave many patients with lifelong disabilities. There is little information about incidences, current practice, outcomes, and type of research that may help delineate new strategies. A questionnaire was designed to determine characteristics of peripheral nerve injuries and the need for alternative strategies and sent to 889 plastic, hand, trauma, and orthopedic surgeons in 49 countries; 324 completed surveys were collected and analyzed (total response rate of 36.45%). The majority of institutions treat more than 3000 patients annually. Trauma was the leading cause of injury with the majority located on the upper extremity. In most cases, a primary repair was achieved, but 2.52% were unrepairable. The overall outcome was linked to their Sunderland classification (SCL). A grade 1 nerve injury (SCL-1) reached a maximum outcome after 7.15 months. SCL-2, -3, -4, and -5 needed 10.69, 14.08, 17.66, and 19.03 months, respectively. Tissue engineering was considered the most important research field, resulting in a visual analogue scale of 8.6. Despite marked advances in the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries, clinical outcomes still appear unsatisfactory. The importance of research in the field of tissue engineering should be emphasized as a pathway toward improving these outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries*
  • Peripheral Nerves / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery