It has been shown that a vein graft provides a good environment for axon regeneration in short nerve gaps. But the use of a vein graft for long nerve gaps is controversial because veins may collapse, due to their thin walls, and the surrounding scar tissue can cause constriction. In an attempt to improve results using the vein graft, the authors conducted the reported experiment by filling the lumen of the vein with collagen gel. A 15-mm rabbit peroneal nerve defect was bridged with a collagen-filled vein graft. On the contralateral side, the defect was bridged with the vein alone. When the regenerated tissue was examined 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks after grafting, the number and diameter of myelinated fibers were significantly increased, compared with the control group without collagen gel. This study found that in order to increase the efficacy of a vein graft for axonal regeneration, collagen gel might be an appropriate matrix material with which to fill the vein graft.
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