Compound muscle action potential (CMAP) recording via reconstructed or regenerated motor axons is a critical examination to evaluate newly developed surgical and regeneration techniques. However, there is currently no documentation on technical aspects of CMAP recordings via reconstructed or regenerated facial nerves. We have studied new techniques of plastic surgery and nerve regeneration using a rat facial nerve defect model for years, standardizing an evaluation pipeline using CMAP recordings. Here we describe our CMAP recording procedure in detail as a package including surgical preparation, data acquisition, analysis and troubleshooting. Each resource is available in public repositories and is maintained as a version control system. In addition, we demonstrate that our analytical pipeline can not only be applied to rats, but also mice. Finally, we show that CMAP recordings can be practically combined with other behavioral and anatomical examinations. For example, retrograde motor neuron labeling provides anatomical evidence for physical routes between the facial motor nucleus and its periphery through reconstructed or regenerated facial nerves, in addition to electrophysiological evidence by CMAP recordings from the same animal. •Standardized surgical, recording and analytical procedures for the functional evaluation of reconstructed or regenerated facial nerves of rats, extended to mice.•The functional evaluation can be combined with anatomical evaluations.•The methods described here are maintained in public repositories as version control systems.
Keywords: Analysis; Compound muscle action potential; Compound muscle action potential recordings via reconstructed or regenerated facial nerves; Facial nerve; Igor Pro; MATLAB; Mouse; Rat; Reconstruction; Regeneration; Retrograde tracer; Version control system.