Collagen nerve guides for surgical repair of brachial plexus birth injury

William W. Ashley, Trisha Weatherly, Sung Park Tae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Object. Standard brachial plexus repair techniques often involve autologous nerve graft placement and neurotization. However, when performed to treat severe injuries, this procedure can sometimes yield poor results. Moreover, harvesting the autologous graft is time-consuming and exposes the patient to additional surgical risks. To improve surgical outcomes and reduce surgical risks associated with autologous nerve graft retrieval and placement, the authors use collagen matrix tubes (Neurogen) instead of autologous nerve graft material. Methods. Between 1991 and 2005, the authors surgically treated 65 infants who had suffered brachial plexus injury at birth. During this time, seven patients were treated using collagen matrix tubes (Neurogen). This study is a retrospective analysis of the initial five patients who were treated using the tubes. Two patients underwent tube placement recently and were excluded from the analysis because of the inadequate follow-up period. Four of the five patients experienced a good recovery (motor scale composite [MSC] > 0.6), and three exhibited an excellent recovery (MSC > 0.75) at 2 years postoperatively. The MSC improved by an average of 69 and 78% at 1 and 2 years, respectively. The movement scores improved to greater than or equal to 50% range of motion in most patients, and the contractures were usually mild or moderate. Follow-up physical and occupational therapy evaluations confirm these patients' functional status. When last seen, four of five of these children could feed and dress themselves. Conclusions. Technically, the use of the collagen matrix tubes was straightforward and efficient, and there were no complications. The outcomes in this small series are encouraging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-456
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Brachial plexus
  • Collagen nerve guide
  • Nerve graft
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Peripheral nerve


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