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J Brachial Plex Peripher Nerve Inj. 2009 Sep 15;4:16. doi: 10.1186/1749-7221-4-16.

Preliminary investigation of a polyethylene glycol hydrogel "nerve glue".

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, Virginia, USA.



Polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogel is a biocompatible semi-adherent gel like substance that can potentially augment nerve repair much like a fibrin sealant. Potential advantages of this substance include fast preparation and set up time, as well as adhesion inhibiting properties. The purpose of this study was to perform an initial evaluation of PEG hydrogel in this application.


The sciatic nerves of 29 rats were transected and repaired using two 10-0 nylon sutures and either PEG hydrogel or fibrin glue. After 10 weeks, contraction forces of the reinnervated muscles were evaluated and histological assessment of scar tissue performed.


Muscle strength testing revealed the average ratio of experimental to control sides for the fibrin glue group was 0.75 and for the PEG hydrogel group was 0.72 (no significant difference). Longitudinal sections through the nerve repair site showed no significant difference in nerve diameter but did demonstrate a significant reduction in scar thickness in the PEG hydrogel group (p < 0.01).


Though further study is necessary to fully evaluate, PEG hydrogel results in less scar tissue formation and equivalent muscle recovery as fibrin sealant when applied as a nerve glue in a rodent sciatic nerve repair model.

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