Denatured muscle grafts for nerve repair. An experimental model of nerve damage in leprosy

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1990 Sep;72(5):874-80. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.72B5.2170419.


About 20% of patients with leprosy develop localised granulomatous lesions in peripheral nerves. We report experiments in guinea-pigs in which freeze-thawed autogenous muscle grafts were used for the treatment of such mycobacterial granulomas. Granulomas were induced in guinea-pig tibial nerves and the animals were left for 7 to 100 days in order to assess maximal damage. The local area of nerve damage was then excised and the gap filled with denatured muscle grafts. Clinical assessment after periods up to 150 days showed good sensory and motor recovery which correlated well with the histological findings. The muscle graft technique may be of value for the treatment of chronic nerve lesions in selected cases of leprosy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Freeze Drying
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Leprosy, Tuberculoid / complications
  • Leprosy, Tuberculoid / pathology
  • Leprosy, Tuberculoid / surgery*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Muscles / transplantation*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / surgery*
  • Schwann Cells / ultrastructure
  • Tibial Nerve / physiology
  • Tibial Nerve / surgery
  • Tibial Nerve / ultrastructure


  • Collagen