The authors studied a bioresorbable material, “Bioglass,” as a potential scaffold for nerve regeneration. Using a rat sciatic nerve injury model, they found axonal regrowth with “Bioglass” in a silastic nerve conduit at 4 weeks as indistinguishable from that which occurred across a nerve autograft.
The search for an alternative to nerve autograft has taken two main routes. Either the nerve stumps are enclosed within a tube fashioned from a natural or synthetic material, or peripheral nerve allograft is used, in combination with immmunosupression, which is implanted into the inter-stump gap. None of these options has proved effective in bridging lengthy nerve defects. The authors of this study hypothesized that “Bioglass” fibers, which can be manufactured in several cm lengths and mixed with cells and growth factors, might have the potential for bridging long nerve gaps. Further study will be necessary.
J Hand Surg