The aim of our study was to evaluate in the rat the ability of a polytetrafluoroethylene microprosthesis (PTFE), to guide the peripheral nerve regeneration between the two extremities of a transected sciatic nerve. In 15 adult male Wistar rats, weighing 200 g. a segment of the right sciatic nerve was resected, leaving a gap of about 1 cm. bridged with microprosthesis, using our original microsurgical technique. Neurophysiological evaluations were performed at 6 and 9 months postoperatively to study the distal motor latency either in the right sciatic nerve or in the unoperated control side. In all the rats myoeltctrical responses with an increased latency of the operated side were produced from the interosseous muscle of the foot. The animals were sacrificed 9 months post surgery. Histological sections at the level of the graft were done in all the rats, and in 10 animals biopsies of the tibialis anterior muscle (TA) of each side were performed. /In active process of axonal regeneration was documented inside the graft, with no infiltration of nerve fibers through the wall of the prosthesis. A connective fibrous reaction was present around the external wall of the graft. Muscle biopsies showed definite signs of muscle reinnervation, with residual. features of variable degree of denervation. These findings stress and confirm the ability of the PTFE graft to allow effective regeneration in a peripheral nerve gap in the rat.
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