Objective: To compare axonal regeneration in an animal model after the repair of facial nerve defects with pre-degenerated (PD) and non-PD (NPD) great auricular nerve grafts.
Materials and Methods: The buccal branch of the facial nerve was completely sectioned in 18 New Zealand rabbits, which were randomized to 3 treatment groups: PD great auricular nerve graft repair (PD group), NPD great auricular nerve graft repair (NPD group), and immediate end-to-end repair (control group). Axonal regeneration was examined using optical microscopy to assess the following variables: total number of myelinated axons and regenerating sprouts (MARS) that crossed the distal anastomosis, numbers of intra and extrafascicular MARS, and area of myelinated axons.
Results: The total number of myelinated axons (p = 0.008) and intrafascicular axons (p = 0.02) that crossed the distal anastomosis significantly differed between the NPD and control group. No significant differences were observed between the PD and control group or between the PD and NPD groups.
Conclusion: Nerve repair with PD grafts could be an alternative treatment in the management of injuries resulting in facial nerve gaps.
*Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Universidad Nacional de Colombia; †Division of Otology and Neurotology, Fundación Universitaria Ciencias de la Salud; ‡Department of Hand and Peripheral Nerve Surgery, Hospital Simón Bolívar, Universidad El Bosque, Bogota; and §Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Juan Carlos Izquierdo, M.D., Carrera 30 No. 45-03 Edif. 471, Ofic. 107; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
This study was conducted after the approval of the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine of the “Universidad Nacional de Colombia” and according to 84 Law of December 1989 and 00843 Resolution of October 1993 of the Republic of Colombia, which adopted the National Charter for Animals Protection, establishing academic, technical, and administrative standards in health sciences research. The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.