Role of small intestine submucosa (SIS) as a nerve conduit: preliminary report

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The goal of peripheral nerve repair is to successfully direct the regenerating fibers into the environment of the distal terminus with minimal loss of fibers at the suture line. Successful nerve repair is dependent on sensory, motor, and autonomic axons making appropriate connection with their distal terminus. The subsequent results are dependent on parameters such as the location and extent of the injury, appropriateness of realignment of the injured nerve, and the surgical technique. Peripheral nerve repair using autograft material has several shortcomings, including donor site morbidity, inadequate return of function, and aberrant regeneration. Recent peripheral nerve research has focused on the generation of synthetic conduits for nerve guidance. Small intestine submucosa (SIS) is a biological material that might better address those outcomes and improve regeneration. Its unique properties appear to offer several advantages. The SIS graft acts as a natural conduit between the proximal and distal nerves, provides a favorable growth environment, and appears to lack antigenicity. This preliminary study to evaluate the integrity of sciatic nerve repair was conducted over a period of 90 d. Distally directed growth of the proximal nerve was demonstrated histologically. Further investigations to demonstrate the extent and integrity of this regeneration are underway.

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Journal of Investigative Surgery



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This article was published in Journal of Investigative Surgery, Volume 17, Pages 339-344.

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Copyright © 2004 Taylor and Francis.

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