Nerve repair: Toward a sutureless approach

Matthew J. Barton*, John W. Morley, Marcus A. Stoodley, Antonio Lauto, David A. Mahns

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Peripheral nerve repair for complete section injuries employ reconstructive techniques that invariably require sutures in their application. Sutures are unable to seal the nerve, thus incapable of preventing leakage of important intraneural fluids from the regenerating nerve. Furthermore, sutures are technically demanding to apply for direct repairs and often induce detrimental scarring that impedes healing and functional recovery. To overcome these limitations, biocompatible and biodegradable glues have been used to seal and repair peripheral nerves. Although creating a sufficient seal, they can lack flexibility and present infection risks or cytotoxicity. Other adhesive biomaterials have recently emerged into practice that are usually based on proteins such as albumin and collagen or polysaccharides like chitosan. These adhesives form their union to nerve tissue by either photothermal (tissue welding) or photochemical (tissue bonding) activation with laser light. These biomaterial adhesives offer significant advantages over sutures, such as their capacity to unite and seal the epineurium, ease of application, reduced invasiveness and add the potential for drug delivery in situ to facilitate regeneration. This paper reviews a number of different peripheral nerve repair (or reconstructive) techniques currently used clinically and in experimental procedures for nerve injuries with or without tissue deficit.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)585-595
    Number of pages11
    JournalNeurosurgical Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014

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