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Hand (N Y). 2009 Sep;4(3):239-44. doi: 10.1007/s11552-009-9183-x. Epub 2009 Mar 21.

Nerve allotransplantation as it pertains to composite tissue transplantation.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8238, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Nerve allografts provide a temporary scaffold for host nerve regeneration and allow for the repair of significant segmental nerve injuries. From rodent, large animal, and nonhuman primate studies, as well as clinical experience, nerve allografts, with the use of immunosuppression, have the capacity to provide equal regeneration and function to that of an autograft. In contrast to solid organ transplantation and composite tissue transfers, nerve allograft transplantation requires only temporary immunosuppression. Furthermore, nerve allograft rejection is difficult to assess, as the nerves are surgically buried and are without an immediate functional endpoint to monitor. In this article, we review what we know about peripheral nerve allograft transplantation from three decades of experience and apply our current understanding of nerve regeneration to the emerging field of composite tissue transplantation.

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