Intraneural tissue reactions induced by internal neurolysis. An experimental study on the blood-nerve barrier, connective tissues and nerve fibres of rabbit tibial nerve

Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg. 1976;10(1):3-8. doi: 10.1080/02844317609169741.


Surgical treatment of peripheral nerve lesions associated with intraneural fibrosis is sometimes extended to include internal neurolysis. This procedure is performed in order to release the individual nerve fascicles from interfascicular scar tissue which is believed to constrict nerve fibres and thereby interfere with their function and regenerative capacity. However, an internal neurolysis per se implies a significant trauma to the nerve and may induce microvascular damage and formation of new intraneural scar tissue. Considering this, such a procedure appears justified only when the preoperative intraneural fibrosis is more severe than the scarring which might be induced by the surgical procedure as such. In order to evaluate the tissue reactions following internal neurolysis an experimental investigation was carried out: internal neurolysis was performed on normal rabbit tibial nerve. After varying postoperative periods up to 6 months specimens of nerves were analysed. Reactive changes of connective tissue and myelin sheath lesions, indicating nerve fibre damage, were investigated in histological sections studied by light microscopy. Barrier function of perineurial membrane and endoneurial vessels was investigated by fluorescent microscopic tracing of locally applied or intravenously injected albumin labelled with Evans' blue. The results indicate that an experimental internal neurolysis per se may induce fibrosis in all layers of the nerve and may cause some nerve fibre damage. However, the barrier function of the perineurium and the endoneurial vessels seems to be generally well preserved. The findings are discussed in relation to indications for internal neurolysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / pathology*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Connective Tissue / pathology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Models, Biological
  • Myelin Sheath / pathology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neurofibrils / pathology*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Rabbits
  • Tibial Nerve / blood supply
  • Tibial Nerve / pathology
  • Tibial Nerve / surgery*
  • Time Factors