Selection of donor nerves - An important factor in end-to-side neurorrhaphy

B. S. Lutz*, D. C.C. Chuang, J. C. Hsu, S. F. Ma, F. C. Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

66 Scopus citations


We have examined the effects of end-to-side neurorrhaphy on peripheral nerve regeneration using the median nerve as recipient nerve and either the antagonistic radial nerve or the agonistic ulnar nerve as donor nerves in rat upper limbs. A perineural window was created in all cases. Motor recovery up to 16 weeks post-operation was tested with the grasping test. No recovery of motor function was evident after end-to-side neurorrhaphy of the median nerve to the antagonistic radial nerve, whereas six of eight rats with end-to-side neurorrhaphy to the agonistic ulnar nerve achieved 367 g ± 47 g grasping power as compared to 526 g + 6 g in end-to-end coapted control animals. No significant difference in flexor digitorum sublimus-motor nerve conduction velocity was found among all three groups. Radial nerve stimulation produced simultaneous contraction of both extensor and flexor muscles of the lower arm that disabled any coordinated movement of the paw. Histology (toluidine blue, acetylcholinesterase-stain) showed multiple regenerated (motor)-axons distal to the coaptation site in the median nerve. Reinnervation of the median nerve solely by the respective donor nerve was demonstrated by a retrograde double labelling technique. These results show that averaged 70% muscle power as compared to end-to-end neurorrhaphy with well coordinated muscle function can be achieved by axonal sprouting through end-to-side neurorrhaphy if an agonistic nerve is used as donor nerve. However, satisfying results are unpredictable. Antagonistic nerves show the ability to induce axonal regeneration, but no useful function can be expected. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 03 2000


  • Antagonist muscle groups
  • End-to-side neurorrhaphy
  • Experimental
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Rat


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