Year of Graduation
Dr. Joseph Rosen, Hanover, NH
Peripheral nerve injury can lead to severe loss of motor control or sensory integration, posing a significant decrement to quality of life. Yet, using traditional approaches to repair, maximal recovery can take up to 2-3 years to achieve with fewer than 50% of patients ever recovering acceptable sensory and motor function. There is a need to increase axonal alignment while also preventing Wallerian Degeneration of the distal end of the nerve to improve repair. We developed a nerve coupler to be used in a rat sciatic nerve model that holds proximal and distal ends of a nerve together while allowing for polyethylene glycol (PEG) application to stimulate nerve fusion after transection and prevent Wallerian Degeneration. Our solution consists of three modular components optimized for surgical feasibility and nerve regeneration. The coupler is a slim cylindrical shell that allows for the in-vivo transection of the nerve and securement of proximity and orientation with peripheral and central slots. The reservoir is a two part open box which secures the coupler during transection and enables PEG delivery. Prototypes were evaluated for technical requirements and surgical feasibility. In-vivo proof-of-concept tests demonstrated the feasibility of securing the peripheral nerve and enabling PEG application. Further, electrophysiological measurements demonstrated significant improvement in nerve repair using our device compared to traditional approaches. Next steps will include conducting a longitudinal rat study, taking steps forward with intellectual property protection, and further material characterization to enable long-term clinical development.
Level of Access
Restricted: Campus/Dartmouth Community Only Access
Dartmouth Digital Commons Citation
Bronk, Theodore; Campbell, Gracyn; Choudhury, Reeham; De La Cruz, Joshua; Montagnese, Basile; and Xia, Yutong (Linda), "Nerve Repair Chamber" (2022). ENGS 89/90 Reports. 45.
Available for download on Monday, March 24, 2025
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