The effect of a distal site of compression on neural regeneration

R. B. Johnston, L. Zachary, A. L. Dellon, S. E. Mackinnon, L. Gottlieb

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The effect of a distal site of nerve compression on neural regeneration after a nerve repair was investigated in the rat model. After chronic compression had been established by placement of a Silastic band about a distal site of the posterior tibial nerve, the proximal posterior tibial nerve was divided, and then immediately repaired. Beginning 6 months after nerve repair, neural regeneration, assayed by walking track analysis, demonstrated significantly impaired function in the group of rats with a distal site of compression, compared with the repair group without a distal site of compression (p < .05). Followed for 3 additional months, neural function further significantly (p < .001) deteriorated in the group with distal compression. Morphometric analysis demonstrated that both the nerve repair alone and repair-plus-compression groups had 1) significantly decreased axon and nerve-fiber diameters (p < .001), and 2) significantly increased myelinated nerve-fiber density (p < .001), compared with normal; these findings are consistent with neural regeneration. However, the repair- plus-compression group had significantly (p < .03) fewer regenerating fibers than did the repair-without-distal-compression group. This experimental study suggests that consideration be given to release of sites of known anatomic narrowing in close proximity to a nerve reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

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    Johnston, R. B., Zachary, L., Dellon, A. L., Mackinnon, S. E., & Gottlieb, L. (1993). The effect of a distal site of compression on neural regeneration. Journal of reconstructive microsurgery, 9(4), 271-276.