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J Hand Surg Br. 1999 Jun;24(3):291-5.

A new resorbable wrap-around implant as an alternative nerve repair technique.

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Blond McIndoe Centre, East Grinstead, UK.


Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), a bacterial storage product, is available as bioabsorbable sheets and has been used in this study for primary nerve repair. The aim was to assess axonal regeneration following such repair and determine the inflammatory response to PHB. In 20 adult cats, the transected superficial radial nerve was wrapped in PHB sheets, while primary epineural repair was carried out in the contralateral limb. At 6 and 12 months, the repair sites were assessed immunohistochemically for macrophage infiltration and myelinated axons were counted in the distal nerve. Mean macrophage counts across the whole width of the nerve in both groups at 6 and 12 months showed no statistically significant difference. Nor was there any significant difference between the two groups at both time-points in axon counts, axon diameter, myelin thickness and g-ratio. There was a statistically significant increase in fibre diameters at 12 months, indicating that fibres were undergoing continuous maturation.

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