Nerve transfers are effective for restoring control to paralyzed somatic muscle groups and, recently, even to denervated detrusor muscle in a canine model. A pilot project was performed in cadavers to examine the feasibility of transferring somatic nerves to vesical branches of the pelvic nerve as a method for potentially restoring innervation to control the detrusor muscle in humans.
Eleven cadavers were dissected bilaterally to expose intercostal, ilioinguinal, and iliohypogastric nerves, along with vesical branches of the pelvic nerve. Ease of access and ability to transfer the former 3 nerves to the pelvic vesical nerves were assessed, as were nerve cross-sectional areas.
The pelvic vesical nerves were accessed at the base of the bladder, inferior to the ureter and accompanied by inferior vesical vessels. The T-11 and T-12 intercostal nerves were too short for transfer to the pelvic vesical nerves without grafting. Ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerves (L-1 origin) were identified retroperitoneally and, with full dissection, were easily transferred to the pelvic vesical nerves intraabdominally. The mean cross-sectional area of the dominant pelvic vesical branch was 2.60 ± 0.169 mm2; ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric branches at the suggested transection site were 2.38 ± 0.32 mm2 (the means are expressed ± SEM).
Use of the ilioinguinal or iliohypogastric nerves for heterotopic transfer to pelvic vesical nerves is surgically feasible, based on anatomical location and cross-sectional areas.
Abbreviation used in this paper:SCI = spinal cord injury.
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