This commentary provides perspective on a recent paper published in Experimental Neurology by Elzinga et al. where the authors investigated the effect of brief electrical stimulation (ES) on nerve regeneration after delayed nerve repair in a rodent model. Their results from a well controlled series of experiments indicated that brief ES promoted axonal outgrowth after chronic axotomy as well after chronic Schwann cell and muscle denervation. ES also increased chronically axotomized neurons regenerating into chronically denervated stumps, which represent a true delayed repair. The authors conclude that brief ES promotion of nerve regeneration after delayed nerve repair is as effective as after immediate repair. Given the prior experimental evidence, and the prior clinical data from patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and digital nerve repair, the implication of this new work is to consider a well designed clinical trial for use of brief ES in nerve graft and nerve transfer repairs.
Keywords: Nerve injury; Nerve repair; Rats; Regeneration.
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