Objective: Repair of sensorial nerve defect is an important issue on peripheric nerve surgery. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of sensory-motor nerve bridging on the denervated dermatomal area, in rats with sensory nerve defects, using a neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM).
Methods: We compared the efficacy of end-to-side (ETS) coaptation of the tibial nerve for sural nerve defect repair, in 32 Sprague-Dawley rats. Rats were assigned to 1 of 4 groups: group A was the sham operated group, group B rats had sural nerves sectioned and buried in neighboring muscles, group C experienced nerve sectioning and end-to-end (ETE) anastomosis, and group D had sural nerves sectioned and ETS anastomosis was performed using atibial nerve bridge. Neurological evaluation included the skin pinch test and histological evaluation was performed by assessing NCAM expression in nerve terminals.
Results: Rats in the denervated group yielded negative results for the skin pinch tests, while animals in the surgical intervention groups (group C and D) demonstrated positive results. As predicted, there were no positively stained skin specimens in the denervated group (group B); however, the surgery groups demonstrated significant staining. NCAM expression was also significantly higher in the surgery groups. However, the mean NCAM values were not significantly different between group C and group D.
Conclusion: Previous research indicates that ETE nerve repair is the gold standard for peripheral nerve defect repair. However, ETS repair is an effective alternative method in cases of sensorial nerve defect when ETE repair is not possible.
Keywords: End-to-side coaptation; Nerve bridging; Neural cell adhesion molecules; Sensory nerve defect.