Comparative study of suture and laser‐assisted anastomoses in rat sciatic nerves

Timothy A. Benke, John W. Clark, Peter J. Wisoff, Steven Schneider, Chidambaram Balasubramaniam, Hal K. Hawkins, John Laurent, Lance Perling, Anne Shehab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Conventional suture repair of peripheral nerves results in a fibrotic reaction that is detrimental to nerve regeneration. As an alternative procedure known as “laser‐assisted” repair, a laser can be used, along with a reduced number of sutures, to reanastomose severed peripheral nerves. To explore the long‐term implications of this technique, the right sciatic nerves of Sprague‐Dawley rats were surgically cut and reanastomosed either by means of four epineurial sutures or two epineurial sutures and CO2 laser welds. Tensile strength, electrophysiology, histology, and functional studies were performed up to 11 months postoperatively. Tensile strength measurements indicate no long‐term disadvantage with the laser‐assisted technique, although the short‐term tensile strength is lower than with conventional suture repair. The conduction velocities of the repaired nerves were similar for both techniques; however, laser‐assisted repaired nerves were found to have lower stimulation thresholds and reduced branching compared to the suture repaired nerves. The measured functional recovery was similar for both repair techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-615
Number of pages14
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • CO laser
  • nerve function
  • nerve regeneration
  • neuroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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