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Currently, surgical treatments for peripheral nerve injury are less than satisfactory. The gold standard of treatment for peripheral nerve gaps >5 mm is the autologous nerve graft; however, this treatment is associated with a variety of clinical complications, such as donor site morbidity, limited availability, nerve site mismatch, and the formation of neuromas. Despite many recent advances in the field, clinical studies implementing the use of artificial nerve guides have yielded results that are yet to surpass those of autografts. Thus, the development of a nerve guidance conduit, which could match the effectiveness of the autologous nerve graft, would be beneficial to the field of peripheral nerve surgery. Design strategies to improve surgical outcomes have included the development of biopolymers and synthetic polymers as primary scaffolds with tailored mechanical and physical properties, luminal "fillers" such as laminin and fibronectin as secondary internal scaffolds, surface micropatterning, stem cell inclusion, and controlled release of neurotrophic factors. The current article highlights approaches to peripheral nerve repair through a channel or conduit, implementing chemical and physical growth and guidance cues to direct that repair process.


Alexander R Nectow, Kacey G Marra, David L Kaplan. Biomaterials for the development of peripheral nerve guidance conduits. Tissue engineering. Part B, Reviews. 2012 Feb;18(1):40-50

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PMID: 21812591

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