Structures to Guide Nerve Regrowth
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Via ScienceDaily: researchers "have developed a method of assisting nerves damaged by traumatic accidents to repair naturally, which could improve the chances of restoring sensation and movement in injured limbs. ... the team describes a new method for making medical devices called nerve guidance conduits or NGCs. The method is based on laser direct writing, which enables the fabrication of complex structures from computer files via the use of CAD/CAM (computer aided design/manufacturing), and has allowed the research team to manufacture NGCs with designs that are far more advanced than previously possible. Currently patients with severe traumatic nerve damage suffer a devastating loss of sensation and/or movement in the affected limb. The traditional course of action, where possible, is to surgically suture or graft the nerve endings together. However, reconstructive surgery often does not result in complete recovery. ... When nerves in the arms or legs are injured they have the ability to re-grow, unlike in the spinal cord; however, they need assistance to do this. We are designing scaffold implants that can bridge an injury site and provide a range of physical and chemical cues for stimulating this regrowth. ... Nerves aren't just like one long cable, they're made up of lots of small cables, similar to how an electrical wire is constructed. Using our new technique we can make a conduit with individual strands so the nerve fibres can form a similar structure to an undamaged nerve. ... Once the nerve is fully regrown, the conduit biodegrades naturally. The team hopes that this approach will significantly increase recovery for a wide range of peripheral nerve injuries."

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120422232409.htm

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