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Improved axon diameter and myelin sheath thickness in facial nerve cable grafts wrapped in temporoparietal fascial flaps

, : Improved axon diameter and myelin sheath thickness in facial nerve cable grafts wrapped in temporoparietal fascial flaps. Annals of Plastic Surgery 40(5): 478-485

Injury to the facial nerve in the temporal bone presents a challenge to the recovery of nerve function, in that the fallopian canal in which it lies is poorly vascularized. This study was designed to determine if wrapping an intratemporal facial nerve defect repaired with a cable graft with a well-vascularized temporoparietal fascial (TPF) flap would improve facial nerve regeneration. To evaluate this question, a defect was created in the intratemporal left facial nerve of 10 rabbits. All nerves were repaired using cable grafts. In 5 animals, the nerve graft was wrapped with temporoparietal fascia, whereas in the other 5 rabbits it was not. Three additional animals underwent exposure only. The contralateral nerve served as a control in all animals. Quantitative analysis of the nerve graft 12 weeks after repair revealed greater recovery of original fiber diameter and myelin sheath thickness in TPF flap-wrapped repairs. Histological evidence of improved neural regeneration and functional nerve recovery was also seen in the repairs where the TPF flap was utilized. Nerve conduction and electromyographic studies of the cable-grafted nerve at 6 and 12 weeks were equivocal, however.


PMID: 9600431

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