Functional results of vascularized nerve grafts (VNG), end-to-end (E-E) repair, and nonvascularized nerve grafts (NNG) were compared using 75 rats. For all three groups, the sciatic function index (SFI) was measured for 12 weeks. For the vascularized nerve graft and nonvascularized nerve graft groups, it was measured every 4 weeks to week 36. The vascularized nerve graft and end-to-end repair groups showed significantly better recovery than the nonvascularized nerve graft group 4 weeks after surgery, and this pattern continued throughout the experiment. Results from the vascularized nerve graft and end-to-end repair groups did not differ significantly. Twelve weeks after surgery, morphologic and electro- physiologic assessments were used to compare the experimental and contralateral legs. The vascularized nerve graft group showed significantly better recovery than the nonvascularized nerve graft group on all measures except muscle weight and axon count, even though the grafts were completed in a normal bed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas