Facial nerve repair accomplished by the interposition of a collagen nerve guide

Américo Kiyoshi Kitahara M.D., Ph.D. 1 , Yoshihiko Nishimura M.D., Ph.D. 1 , Yasuhiko Shimizu M.D., Ph.D. 1 , and Katsuaki Endo M.D., Ph.D. 1
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  • 1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Department of Artificial Organs, Research Center for Biomedical Engineering; and Department of Physiology, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
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Object. Facial nerve paralysis due to a surgical procedure or trauma is a frequently observed complication. The authors evaluated facial nerve repair achieved by the interposition of a collagen nerve guide.

Methods. Ten cats were divided into three groups. Group 1 consisted of six animals in which a 5-mm facial nerve segment on one side was resected and replaced by a collagen tube that was sutured to bridge both nerve stumps. On the opposite side a 5-mm segment of facial nerve was resected, reversed 180°, and sutured to the stumps as an autograft nerve. Group 2 consisted of two cats in which the collagen nerve guide was interposed on one side and the nerve on the other side was left intact. Group 3 consisted of two cats in which a reversed autograft nerve was placed on one side and the nerve on the other side was left intact. Histological, electrophysiological, and horseradish peroxidase labeling examinations were performed starting 3 weeks after surgery.

Light and electron microscopic examinations of collagen tube—implanted specimens revealed a well-vascularized regenerated nerve. The electrophysiological study confirmed the recovery of electrical activity in regenerated axons. Horseradish peroxidase labeling also confirmed restoration of the whole facial nerve tract.

Conclusions. The collagen nerve guide shows great promise as a nerve conduit.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Américo Kiyoshi Kitahara, M.D., Ph.D., Room E, 456–0011 Nagoya-shi, Atsuta-ku Hanamachi 8–31, Jyunes Kanayama, Japan. email: akk96@kuhp.kyoto-u.ac.jp.
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