Introduction: peripheral nerve surgery--biology, entrapment, and injuries.
Surgery aimed at repairing damaged peripheral nerves has a long history. Refuting the time-honored nihilism of Hippocrates and Galen that an injured nerve cannot regain function, a few adventurous medieval surgeons attempted to repair severed nerves. However, the ability of a peripheral nerve repair to restore function was not generally accepted until 1800. Neurosurgeons, beginning with Harvey Cushing, have had an interest in repairing damaged peripheral nerves. Significant progress in the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries resulted from experience with the numerous injuries that occurred during World Wars I and II. Surgeons steadily defined the anatomy of peripheral nerves and developed techniques for decompressing and repairing peripheral nerves. Kline and Dejonge developed an intraoperative electrophysiological technique for detecting axons regenerating across a damaged segment of nerve. In the second 2 decades of the 20th century, distal nerve transfers were rediscovered whereby the proximal end of a less essential nerve is used to reinnervate the distal end of a nerve, providing a more vital function.
Friedman, AH; Elias, WJ; Midha, R
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