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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1988 Oct;82(4):573-9.

Use of exogenous electric current in the treatment of delayed lesions in peripheral nerves.

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  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.


A commonly observed clinical problem following nerve injury is the incomplete recovery of function associated with the formation of a neuroma in continuity. In the present study, exogenous direct electric current was tested for its ability to promote growth of axons through a neuroma-like lesion. Neuroma-like structures were created by crushing rat sciatic nerves at two sites 4 mm apart and applying phenol to the intermediate region. A bulbous axonally impenetrable structure is formed 3 weeks later. At that time, silicone cuffs were sewn onto the nerve proximal to the phenol application site and 7 mm distally. In experimental groups, cuffs were attached to wires leading to a subcutaneously implanted Traxon power source, the distal cuff being cathodal. In control groups, cuffs were not electrically connected. In electrically active groups, substantial numbers of myelinated axons were seen distal to the cathode 3 weeks after implantation. Four times fewer fibers were observed in control groups. Footprint patterns from electrically active animals revealed a significant improvement over control neuroma preparations, as quantitated using the Sciatic Functional Index.

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