Secondary nerve reconstruction using vein conduit grafts for neglected digital nerve injuries

Yen Hsun Lee, Shyh Jou Shieh

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Digital nerve defects can result from neglected nerve injuries. The standard method of reconstruction is nerve grafting, but donor-site morbidity encourages searching for alternative graft materials, including vein conduit grafts. From 1995-2005, three patients with neglected digital nerve injuries received vein conduit grafting for digital nerve reconstruction in our hospital. The interval between the injury and the reconstructive procedure ranged from 17 days to 2 years, and the length of the defects ranged from 0.8 to 2.5 cm. All the vein grafts were harvested from the distal forearm. Patient 1 had a moving and a static two-point discrimination (M2PD and S2PD) of 3 and 4 mm, respectively, at a 12-year follow-up. Patient 2 had an M2PD of 5 mm and S2PD of 6 mm at an 11-year follow-up, and the patient 3 had both an M2PD and S2PD of 4 mm at a near 3-year follow-up. They all achieved useful sensory function (S3 and S3+) by modified Highet and Sander criteria. Although previous studies showed secondary repair using vein grafts yielded worse sensory recovery than that of primary repair, in our cases, secondary digital nerve reconstruction with vein conduit grafts gives excellent results at the long-term sensory evaluation, two of them with more than 10 years' follow-up. To the best of our knowledge, this might be the longest follow-up after secondary digital nerve reconstruction using a vein conduit graft. It bears the advantages of readily accessible, no donor-site morbidity, and compatible in size with digital nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-440
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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