Sutureless nerve repair with ECM bioscaffolds and laser-activated chitosan adhesive

Neill J. Turner, Scott A. Johnson, Leslie J.R. Foster, Stephen F. Badylak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The outcome of peripheral nerve repair following transection is influenced by a number of factors but almost all approaches require anastomosis of the nerve using technically demanding microsurgical procedures. However, the use of sutures presents a number of unavoidable challenges including additional nerve trauma, stimulation of an inflammatory response, and endoneural fibrosis. The objective of the present study was to determine the efficacy of a sutureless approach to nerve repair. A rat sciatic nerve transection model was used with a laser-activated, chitosan-based adhesive (SurgiLux), combined with different forms of extracellular matrix (ECM), known to promote Schwann cell proliferation and nerve growth both in peripheral nerve applications. Following a 5 mm transection of the sciatic nerve, nerve guide wraps were prepared using: (1) laser-activated adhesive (SurgiLux) alone, (2) SurgiLux incorporating ECM (SurgiLux ECM), (3) ECM secured using SurgiLux, and (4) ECM secured using 8-0 Prolene sutures. A no treatment groups was used as a negative control. Evaluation of tissue remodeling was conducted with histolomorphometric assessment of neuroma, integrity of repair, nerve immunolabeling, ratio of myelinated to non-myelinated fibers, and amount of connective tissue. Quantitative and semi-quantitative analysis of the repaired nerve transections at 6 and 12 weeks showed that that SurgiLux incorporating powdered ECM (SurgiLux ECM), SurgiLux alone and ECM alone all improved the healing response compared to no-treatment controls, with less fibrotic tissue and more nerve staining. Histologic scoring showed that the SurgiLux ECM group showed the greatest increase in histologic score between the two time points tested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1698-1711
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • adhesive
  • chitosan
  • extracellular matrix
  • peripheral nerve
  • sutureless


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