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Nerve allograft effective in repair surgery

San Francisco — Results of a multicenter clinical trial show that treatment of severed peripheral nerve with processed nerve allograft compares favorably to traditional autograft nerve repair.

Led by plastic surgeon Darrell Brooks, M.D., of the Buncke Clinic in San Francisco, the observational study is based on data collected from 12 collaborative institutions with 25 surgeons, each using their own standard of care, preferred surgical techniques, rehabilitation plan and follow-up. A total of 132 individual nerve injuries were treated using the processed nerve allograft.

According to a Buncke Clinic statement, the study’s findings show that nerve allograft is effective.

Across all types of nerves, patients achieved meaningful recovery in 89 percent of surgeries involving sensory nerves, 86 percent involving motor nerves and 77 percent involving mixed nerves, traditionally more difficult to treat.

In both short and long nerve gaps, patients achieved meaningful recovery in 100 percent of gaps less than 15 mm, 76 percent of gaps 15 mm to 29 mm and 91 percent of gaps 30 mm to 50 mm.

For adults of any age, meaningful recovery was achieved in patients ages 18 to 29 (70 percent), 30 to 49 (88 percent) and 50 and older (93 percent).

No graft-related adverse effects, implant complications or tissue rejections were reported.

“It is commonly accepted among surgeons who do peripheral nerve repair that success of surgery depends on the type of injury, length of nerve discontinuity, the patient’s age and the type of nerve,” Dr. Brooks says in the statement. “Our study findings show that with processed nerve allograft, patients can have meaningful recovery regardless of these factors.”

The findings were published in the January issue of Microsurgery.

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