Peripheral facial nerve regeneration using collagen conduit entubulation in a cat model

Harley S. Dresner, Timothy A. King, H. Brent Clark, Steven K. Juhn, Samuel C. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Facial nerve (FN) injuries are functionally, psychologically, and financially debilitating. Facial nerve autograft repairs produce significant donor nerve morbidity and functional results that rarely exceed House-Brackmann (HB) grade III over VI. In this study we sought to enhance FN regeneration via collagen conduit entubulation. Methods: Five control cats underwent right ("cut-side") FN transection and immediate microsurgical anastomosis repair. Five experimental cats underwent identical repairs plus collagen conduit entubulation of each anastomosis. Results: Postoperative behavioral observations revealed gradual FN functional recovery in all cats, who attained adapted HB grades of II to III over VI after 6 weeks. Electromyographic latencies and amplitudes from the bilateral orbicularis oculi and orbicularis oris muscles indicated restoration of FN continuity in all 10 cats. In comparison with FN repairs without conduits, repairs with conduits significantly enhanced recovery of amplitude in cut-side orbicularis oculi muscles (p = .037) and latency in cut-side orbicularis oris muscles (p = .048). In comparison with intact left ("uncut-side") FN latencies and amplitudes, more statistically significant differences in cut-side FN function were observed in repairs without conduits than in repairs with conduits. Conduits therefore facilitated a more complete return of electrophysiological function. Histologic analyses confirmed FN continuity and revealed more organized FN regenerative architecture in conduit-implanted repairs. Conclusions: The overall results support enhanced FN regeneration with collagen conduit entubulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Dresner, King, Juhn. Levine) and Pathology (Clark), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. This study was supported in part by grants from the Lions Hearing Research Fund. This study was performed in accordance with the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. et seq.); the animal use protocol was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the University of Minnesota.


  • Collagen conduit
  • Entubulation
  • Facial nerve
  • Regeneration


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