Objective. The post–traumatic neuro-anastomosis must be protected from the surrounding environment. This barrier must be biologically inert, biodegradable, not compressing but protecting the nerve.
Formation of painful neuroma is one of the major issues with neuroanastomosis; currently there is no consensus on post-repair neuroma prevention. Aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of neuroanastomosis performed with venous sheath to reduce painful neuromas formation, improve the electrical conductivity of the repaired nerve, and reduce the discrepancies of the sectioned nerve stumps.
Patients and methods. From a trauma population of 320 patients treated in a single centre between January 2008 and December 2011, twenty-six patients were identified as having an injury to at least one of the peripheral nerves of the arm and enrolled in the study. Patients were divided into two groups. In the group A (16 patients) the end-to-end nerve suture was wrapped in a vein sheath and compared with the group B (10 patients) in which a simple end-to-end neurorrhaphy was performed.
The venous segment used to cover the nerve micro-suture was harvested from the superficial veins of the forearm. The parameters analyzed were: functional recovery of motor nerves, sensitivity and pain.
Results. Average follow-up was 14 months (range: 12-24 months). The group A showed a more rapid motor and sensory recovery and a reduction of the painful symptoms compared to the control group (B).
Conclusions. The Authors demonstrated that, in their experience, the venous sheath provides a valid solution to avoid the dispersion of the nerve fibres, to prevent adherent scars and painful neuromas formation.
Moreover it can compensate the different size of two nerve stumps, allowing, thereby, a more rapid functional and sensitive recovery without expensive devices.