Human adult peripheral nerve injuries are a high incidence clinical problem that greatly affects patients’ quality of life. Although peripheral nervous system has intrinsic regenerative capacity, this occurs in an incomplete or poorly functional manner. When a nerve fiber loses its continuity with consequent damage of the basal lamina tubes, axon spontaneous regeneration is disorganized and mismatched. These phenomena translate in an inadequate nerve functional recovery and consequent musculoskeletal incapacity. Nerve grafts still remain the gold standard in peripheral injuries treatment. However, this approach contains its disadvantages such as the necessity of primary surgery to harvest the autografts, loss of a functional nerve, donor site morbidity and longer surgery procedures. Therefore, biomaterials and tissue engineering can provide efficient resources and alternatives to nerve injury repair not only by the development of biocompatible structures but also, introducing neurotrophic factors and cellular systems to stimulate optimum clinical outcome. In this chapter, a comprehensive state-of-the art picture of tissue-engineered nerve grafts scaffolds, their application in nerve regeneration along with latest advances in peripheral nerve repair and future perspectives will be discussed, including our own large experience in this field of knowledge.
Part of the book: Materials, Technologies and Clinical Applications