Traditional treatment of transected peripheral nerves has been by suturing the nerve ends to each other. Because this approach is not widely available and is technically demanding, the authors evaluated an easier method for end-to-end anastomosis using cyanoacrylate-based glue.
The authors used a rat sciatic nerve model. The sciatic nerve was transected in one hind limb in each of 40 rats. In 20 rats, end-to-end anastomosis was performed with suturing, while in the other 20 it was performed using only cyanoacrylate glue. The outcome variables were incapacitance test results; the functional sciatic index; somatosensory evoked potentials; axon counts and sizes at the proximal, anastomotic, and distal levels; local adhesions; and automutilation injuries. Outcomes were measured in a manner blinded to the anastomotic technique.
Only the somatosensory evoked potentials and degree of local adhesions were significantly better in the Suture Group than in the Glue Group. With respect to the remaining outcomes (automutilation injuries, counts of large and medium axons combined, and counts of small axons), either the results were significantly better in the Glue Group or the between-groups difference was not statistically significant. There were no consistent significant correlations between the various outcome measures.
Using cyanoacrylate-based glue for microanastomosis of cut nerves appears to be as effective as microsuturing the nerve ends. Despite more local adhesions in the glued nerves, most functional outcomes were not influenced by the anastomotic technique. Validation of these findings awaits studies of larger groups of animals.