Peripheral nerve surgery training

Peripheral nerve surgery training

Neurosurgery residents exceeded the required minimum number of Peripheral nerve surgery and were increasingly more exposed to PNS. However, compared with their counterparts in orthopedic and plastic surgery, neurosurgery residents performed significantly fewer cases. Exposure for neurosurgery residents remains unchanged over the study period while plastic surgery residents experienced an increase in case volume. The deficiency in exposure for neurosurgical residents must be addressed to harness interest and proficiency in PNS 1).

In 2003, the goal of a study was to determine current practice patterns and attitudes of neurosurgeons toward peripheral nerve surgery.

A 13-question survey was mailed to all active members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Collected responses were entered into a database and were analyzed using statistical software.

Of 3800 surveys mailed there were 1728 responses for a 45% response rate. Analysis of the data revealed that respondents had a greater comfort level with simple peripheral nerve procedures, such as carpal tunnel release, and a lack of comfort with more complex peripheral nerve procedures, such as brachial plexus exploration. The majority of simple cases were treated by the surveyed neurosurgeons, whereas the majority of complex cases were referred to other surgeons, primarily to other neurosurgeons. The type of medical practice (academic, group, or solo) and the location of the practice (major city, small city, suburban setting, or rural area) showed a statistically significant correlation to simple case referral patterns, whereas the length of time since the respondent underwent training did not. Practice type and location, and years since training showed a statistically significant correlation to complex case referral patterns. Only 48.7% of the respondents believed that they had been given sufficient exposure to peripheral nerve surgery during residency training. The overwhelming majority (97.2%) of respondents favored keeping peripheral nerve surgery as part of the neurosurgical curriculum 2).

Peripheral nerve surgical competency.

Peripheral Nerve Surgery Fellowship (Mayo Clinic Rochester).

Salt Lake City

University of Calgary.

Copenhagen Peripheral Nerve Surgery Course 2022 https://peripheral-nerve-surgery.com/


1)

Gohel P, White M, Agarwal N, Fields P D, Ozpinar A, Alan N. Longitudinal Analysis of Peripheral Nerve Surgery Training: Comparison of Neurosurgery to Plastic and Orthopedic Surgery. World Neurosurg. 2022 Jan 30:S1878-8750(22)00108-5. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2022.01.094. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35108647.
2)

Maniker A, Passannante M. Peripheral nerve surgery and neurosurgeons: results of a national survey of practice patterns and attitudes. J Neurosurg. 2003 Jun;98(6):1159-64. doi: 10.3171/jns.2003.98.6.1159. PMID: 12816257.

Electrical stimulation for peripheral nerve injury treatment

Electrical stimulation for peripheral nerve injury treatment

Peripheral nerve injury afflicts individuals from all walks of life. Despite the peripheral nervous system’s intrinsic ability to regenerate, many patients experience incomplete functional recovery. Surgical repair aims to expedite this recovery process in the most thorough manner possible. However, full recovery is still rarely seen especially when nerve injury is compounded with polytrauma where surgical repair is delayed. Pharmaceutical strategies supplementary to nerve microsurgery have been investigated but surgery remains the only viable option 1).


Electrical stimulation is regarded pivotal to promote repair of nerve injury, however, failed to get extensive application in vivo due to the challenges in noninvasive electrical loading accompanying with construction of biomimetic cell niche.

Building on decades of experimental evidence in animal models, several recent, prospective, randomized clinical trials have affirmed electrical stimulation as a clinically translatable technique to enhance functional recovery in patients with peripheral nerve injuries requiring surgical treatment 2).


Implantable wireless stimulators can deliver therapeutic electrical stimulation to injured peripheral nerve tissue. Implantable wireless nerve stimulators might represent a novel means of facilitating therapeutic electrical stimulation in both intraoperative and postoperative settings 3).


Zhang et al. demonstrated a new concept of magneto responsive electric 3D matrix for remote and wireless electrical stimulation. By the preparation of magnetoelectric core/shell structured Fe3 O4 @BaTiO3 NPs-loaded hyaluronan/collagen hydrogels, which recapitulate considerable magneto-electricity and vital features of native neural extracellular matrix, the enhancement of neurogenesis both in cellular level and spinal cord injury in vivo with external pulsed magnetic field applied is proved. The findings pave the way for a novel class of remote controlling and delivering electricity through extracellular niches-mimicked hydrogel network, arising prospects not only in neurogenesis but also in human-computer interaction with higher resolution 4).


The frequency of stimulation is an important factor in the success of both quality and quantity of axon regeneration as well as growth of the surrounding myelin and blood vessels that support the axon. Histological analysis and measurement of regeneration showed that low frequency stimulation had a more successful outcome than high frequency stimulation on regeneration of damaged sciatic nerves.

The use of autologous nerve grafting procedures that involve redirection of regenerative donor nerve fibers into the graft conduit has been successful in restoring target muscle function. Localized delivery of soluble neurotrophic factors may help promote the rate of axon regeneration observed within these graft conduits.

An expanding area of nerve regeneration research deals with the development of scaffolding and bio-conduits. Scaffolding developed from biomaterial would be useful in nerve regeneration if they successfully exhibit essentially the same role as the endoneurial tubes and Schwann cell do in guiding regrowing axons.

The surgeon, who treats nerve injuries, should have knowledge about how peripheral nerves react to trauma, particularly an understanding about the extensive pathophysiological alterations that occur both in the peripheral and in the central nervous system. A large number of factors influence the functional outcome, where the surgeon only can affect a few of them. In view of the new knowledge about the delicate intracellular signaling pathways that are rapidly initiated in neurons and in nonneuronal cells with the purpose to induce nerve regeneration, the timing of nerve repair and reconstruction after injury has gained more interest. It is crucial to understand and to utilize the inborn mechanisms for survival and regeneration of neurons and for activation, survival, and proliferation of the Schwann cells and other cells that are acting after a nerve injury. Thus, experimental and clinical data clearly point toward the advantage of early nerve repair and reconstruction of injuries. Following an appropriate diagnosis of a nerve injury, the nerve should be promptly repaired or reconstructed, and new rehabilitation strategies should early be initiated. Considering nerve transfers in the treatment arsenal can shorten the time of nerve reinnervation of muscle targets. Timing of nerve repair and reconstruction is crucial after nerve injury 5).


1)

Willand MP, Nguyen MA, Borschel GH, Gordon T. Electrical Stimulation to Promote Peripheral Nerve Regeneration. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2016 Jun;30(5):490-6. doi: 10.1177/1545968315604399. Epub 2015 Sep 10. PMID: 26359343.
2)

Zuo KJ, Gordon T, Chan KM, Borschel GH. Electrical stimulation to enhance peripheral nerve regeneration: Update in molecular investigations and clinical translation. Exp Neurol. 2020 Oct;332:113397. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113397. Epub 2020 Jul 3. PMID: 32628968.
3)

MacEwan MR, Gamble P, Stephen M, Ray WZ. Therapeutic electrical stimulation of injured peripheral nerve tissue using implantable thin-film wireless nerve stimulators. J Neurosurg. 2018 Feb 9:1-10. doi: 10.3171/2017.8.JNS163020. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 29424647.
4)

Zhang Y, Chen S, Xiao Z, Liu X, Wu C, Wu K, Liu A, Wei D, Sun J, Zhou L, Fan H. Magnetoelectric Nanoparticles Incorporated Biomimetic Matrix for Wireless Electrical Stimulation and Nerve Regeneration. Adv Healthc Mater. 2021 Jun 27:e2100695. doi: 10.1002/adhm.202100695. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34176235.
5)

Dahlin LB. The role of timing in nerve reconstruction. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2013;109:151-64. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420045-6.00007-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 24093611.

Iatrogenic peripheral nerve injury

Iatrogenic peripheral nerve injury

Treatment

Iatrogenic peripheral nerve injury is a considerable social and economic concern and the majority of cases are preventable. Complications should be referred to and dealt with promptly by experienced surgeons, to ensure the best chances for optimal functional recovery. Their prevention should be emphasized. Their management should include ensuring early diagnosis, administering an appropriate treatment with rehabilitation, rendering psychological support, and providing control of pain 1).


The combination of morphological assessment (neurosonography) with functional assessment (nerve conduction studies) is of paramount importance in the management of traumatic peripheral nerve injuries. If on sonography, the nerve appears intact, then intraoperative nerve conduction studies the functionality of the nerve. If conduction is impaired (signifying the presence of a neuroma-in-continuity), then nerve grafting is done. If the conduction is somewhat preserved, neurolysis is performed 2).


If it is noted during an operation that a nerve has been severed, it should be repaired immediately during the same operation (primary repair) or within 2–3 weeks (early secondary repair) 3).

The same is true when the nerve is torn or damaged but not cleanly cut. The same operative approach is used as for any other nerve injury. The repair ideally is done with microsurgical tools and magnifying devices, insuring maximal visualization for the repair.

Once again, this ideal situation with the immediate repair is seldom achieved. Usually, the cause of the damage is unknown. In our experience, the operative report rarely provides useful information. When the mechanism for the damage is unknown but there is reason to think that the nerve may regenerate itself, we prefer to wait 3 months with monthly neurological examinations. If at this time, the deficit has not changed or only minimally improved, the nerve should be surgically explored in the next month. If the neurosonographic examination after exposure of the nerve identifies a neuroma, one should not delay. The operation should ideally occur within 3 weeks 4).

A severed nerve should be reconstructed, if possible. Usually, this requires nerve grafting. The sural nerve on the lateral calf is usually used as a source. Other cutaneous nerves such as the saphenous nerve and the medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve can also be used 5). If the nerve appears to be intact, then intraoperative nerve conduction studies help assess how functional it is in the area of damage. If conductivity is impaired, then the affected segment of the nerve surrounded by scar tissue—usually thickened and diagnosed as a neuroma in continuity—is excised and replaced by a transplant. In other cases, when conductivity studies are more promising, it suffices to free the nerve up from the surrounding reactive tissues (neurolysis). In recent years intraoperative neuro sonography has been employed, facilitating the evaluation of individual nerve fascicles, helping distinguish between a complete neuroma in continuity without any residual fascicles and a partial lesion still containing functioning fascicles 6).

The combination of the functional evaluation (nerve conduction studies) and the morphologic assessment (neuro sonography) is very helpful in the surgical management of traumatic injuries in peripheral nerve surgery. The exact approach is documented in the interdisciplinary guidelines of the AWMF “Versorgung peripherer Nervenverletzungen” 7).

A key factor in improving the prognosis is physical therapy, both after the deficit is identified and then post-operatively until re-innervation of the affected muscles has occurred. Electric stimulation therapy is also worthwhile in our option. In this way, the muscle structures can be better maintained until nerve regeneration has occurred.

Case series

Dubuisson et al. analyzed the management of iatrogenic peripheral nerve injury (iNI) in 42 patients.

The iNI occurred mostly during a surgical procedure (n = 39), either on a nerve or plexus (n = 13), on bone, joint, vessel, or soft tissue (n = 24) or because of malpositioning (n = 2). The most commonly injured nerves were the brachial plexusradial nervesciatic nervefemoral nerve, or peroneal nerves. 42.9% of the patients were referred to later than 6 months. A neurological deficit was present in 37 patients and neuropathic pain in 17. Two patients were lost to follow-up. Conservative treatment was applied in 23 patients because of good spontaneous recovery or compensation or because of expected bad prognosis whatever the treatment. Surgical treatment was performed in 17 patients because of known nerve section (n = 2), persistent neurological deficit (n = 12) or invalidating neuropathic pain (n = 3); nerve reconstruction with grafts (n = 8) and neurolysis (n = 8) were the most common procedures. The outcome was satisfactory in 50%. Potential reasons for poor outcomes were a very proximal injury, placement of very long grafts, delayed referral, and predominance of neuropathic pain. According to the literature, delayed referral of iNI for treatment is frequent. They provides an illustrative case of a young girl operated on at 6.5 months for femoral nerve reconstruction with grafts while the nerve section was obvious from the operative note and pathological tissue analysis. Litigation claims (n = 10) resulted in malpractice (n = 2) or therapeutic area (n = 5) (3 unavailable conclusions).

NI can result in considerable disability, pain, and litigation. Optimal management is required 8).


Rasulić et al. describe and analyze iatrogenic nerve injuries in a total of 122 consecutive patients who received surgical treatment at there institution during a period of 10 years, from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2013. The final outcome evaluation was performed 2 years after surgical treatment.

The most common causes of iatrogenic nerve injuries among patients in the study were the operations of bone fractures (23.9%), lymph node biopsy (19.7%), and carpal tunnel release (18%). The most affected nerves were median nerve (21.3%), accessory nerve (18%), radial nerve (15.6%), and peroneal nerve (11.5%). In 74 (60.7%) patients, surgery was performed 6 months after the injury, and in 48 (39.3%) surgery was performed within 6 months after the injury. In 80 (65.6%) patients, we found lesion in discontinuity, and in 42 (34.4%) patients lesion in continuity. The distribution of surgical procedures performed was as follows: autotransplantation (51.6%), neurolysis (23.8%), nerve transfer (13.9%), direct suture (8.2%), and resection of neuroma (2.5%). In total, we achieved satisfactory recovery in 91 (74.6%), whereas the result was dissatisfactory in 31 (25.4%) patients.

Patients with iatrogenic nerve injuries should be examined as soon as possible by experts with experience in traumatic nerve injuries so that the correct diagnosis can be reached and the appropriate therapy planned. The timing of reconstructive surgery and the technique used are the crucial factors for functional recover 9).


340 patients underwent surgery for iatrogenic nerve injuries over a 23-year period in the District Hospital of Günzburg (Neurosurgical Department of the University of Ulm). In a study published by the authors in 2001, 17.4% of the traumatic nerve lesions treated were iatrogenic. 94% of iatrogenic nerve injuries occurred during surgical procedures 10).

References

1)

Kumar A, Shukla D, Bhat DI, Devi BI. Iatrogenic peripheral nerve injuries. Neurol India. 2019;67(Supplement):S135-S139. doi:10.4103/0028-3886.250700
2)

Sinha S. Management protocol in the case of iatrogenic peripheral nerve injuries. Neurol India. 2019;67(Supplement):S140-S141. doi:10.4103/0028-3886.250696
3) , 4) , 5) , 7)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Handchirurgie (DGH), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurologie (DGN), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Orthopädie und Orthopädische Chirurgie (DGOOC), Deutsche Gesellschaft der Plastischen, Rekonstruktiven und Ästhetischen Chirurgen (DGPRÄC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Unfallchirurgie (DGU) Leitlinen: Versorgung peripherer Nervenverletzungen. http://www.awmf.org/leitlinien/detail/ll/005-010.html Stand 30.06.2013
6)

Koenig RW, Schmidt TE, Heinen CPG, et al. Intraoperative high-resolution ultrasound: a new technique in the management of peripheral nerve disorders. Clinical article Journal of Neurosurgery. 2011;114:514–521
8)

Dubuisson A, Kaschten B, Steinmetz M, et al. Iatrogenic nerve injuries: a potentially serious medical and medicolegal problem. About a series of 42 patients and review of the literature [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 11]. Acta Neurol Belg. 2020;10.1007/s13760-020-01424-0. doi:10.1007/s13760-020-01424-0
9)

Rasulić L, Savić A, Vitošević F, et al. Iatrogenic Peripheral Nerve Injuries-Surgical Treatment and Outcome: 10 Years’ Experience. World Neurosurg. 2017;103:841-851.e6. doi:10.1016/j.wneu.2017.04.099
10)

Antoniadis G, Kretschmer T, Pedro MT, König RW, Heinen CP, Richter HP. Iatrogenic nerve injuries: prevalence, diagnosis and treatment. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2014;111(16):273-279. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2014.0273
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