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Return of Motor Function After Repair of a 3-cm Gap in a Rabbit Peroneal NerveA Comparison of Autograft, Collagen Conduit, and Conduit Filled with Collagen-GAG Matrix
Tatevik Sahakyants, MD1; Joo-Yup Lee, MD, PhD2; Patricia F. Friedrich, AAS1; Allen T. Bishop, MD1; Alexander Y. Shin, MD1
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail address for A.Y. Shin: shin.alexander@mayo.edu
2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, the Catholic University of Korea, St. Vincent’s Hospital, 93-6 Ji-dong Paldal-gu Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
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Investigation performed at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Disclosure: One or more of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of an aspect of this work. In addition, one or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Nov 06;95(21):1952-1958. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.M.00215
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the motor nerve recovery in a rabbit model after repair of a 3-cm gap in the peroneal nerve with a conduit filled with a collagen-GAG (glycosaminoglycan) matrix and compare the results with those after reconstruction with an autograft or an empty collagen conduit.


Forty-two male New Zealand rabbits were divided into three experimental groups. In each group, a unilateral 3-cm peroneal nerve defect was repaired with a nerve autograft, an empty collagen conduit, or a conduit filled with a collagen-GAG matrix. At six months, nerve regeneration was evaluated on the basis of the compound muscle action potentials, maximum isometric tetanic force, and wet muscle weight of the tibialis anterior muscle as well as nerve histomorphometry.


The autograft group had significantly better motor recovery than the conduit groups. The empty collagen conduits and conduits filled with the collagen-GAG matrix led to results that were similar to each other.


On the basis of this rabbit model, autologous nerve grafting remains the gold standard in the reconstruction of 3-cm segmental motor nerve defects.

Clinical Relevance: 

Segmental motor nerve defects should be reconstructed with autograft nerves. The use of a collagen conduit filled with a collagen-GAG matrix for motor nerve reconstruction should be limited until additional animal studies are performed.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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