Nerve grafts in head and neck reconstruction

Steven G. Hoshal, Roberto N. Solis, Arnaud F. Bewley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article reviews recent literature on repair of peripheral nerve injuries in the head and neck with a focus on autografts, allografts, nerve conduits, and technical considerations. RECENT FINDINGS: Contemporary nerve grafting techniques offer the potential to improve peripheral nerve outcomes and reduce donor site morbidity. A variety of donor nerves autografts have been described that offer favorable outcomes for segmental reconstruction of facial nerve defects. Recent studies have demonstrated promising results in repair of inferior alveolar nerve injuries with human allografts. Animal models describe successful reinnervation of small defects with neural conduits. The latest data do not favor protocolled nerve graft polarity or use of a motor versus sensory donor nerves. SUMMARY: Interposition nerve grafting is the gold standard for repair of peripheral nerve injuries when a tension-free primary neurorrhaphy is not possible. Autografts are the work-horse for the majority of head and neck neural defects, however, can result in some degree of donor site morbidity. Recent developments in allografting and neural conduits have the potential to further diversify the head and neck reconstructive surgeon's armamentarium. It is unclear if nerve graft makeup or polarity affect functional outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-351
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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