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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Ventral root re-implantation is better than peripheral nerve transplantation for motoneuron survival and regeneration after spinal root avulsion injury

Huanxing Su1*, Qiuju Yuan2, Dajiang Qin2, Xiaoying Yang2, Wai-Man Wong2, Kwok-Fai So24 and Wutian Wu234*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao, China

2 Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China

3 Research Center of Reproduction, Development and Growth, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China

4 GHM Institute of CNS Regeneration, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

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BMC Surgery 2013, 13:21  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-13-21

Published: 24 June 2013



Peripheral nerve (PN) transplantation and ventral root implantation are the two common types of recovery operations to restore the connection between motoneurons and their target muscles after brachial plexus injury. Despite experience accumulated over the past decade, fundamental knowledge is still lacking concerning the efficacy of the two microsurgical interventions.


Thirty-eight adult female Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into 5 groups. Immediately following root avulsion, animals in the first group (n = 8) and the second group (n = 8) received PN graft and ventral root implantation respectively. The third group (n = 8) and the fourth group (n = 8) received PN graft and ventral root implantation respectively at one week after root avulsion. The fifth group received root avulsion only as control (n = 6). The survival and axonal regeneration of severed motoneurons were investigated at 6 weeks post-implantation.


Re-implantation of ventral roots, both immediately after root avulsion and in delay, significantly increased the survival and regeneration of motoneurons in the avulsed segment of the spinal cord as compared with PN graft transplantation.


The ventral root re-implantation is a better surgical repairing procedure than PN graft transplantation for brachial plexus injury because of its easier manipulation for re-implanting avulsed ventral roots to the preferred site, less possibility of causing additional damage and better effects on motoneuron survival and axonal regeneration.

Avulsion; Peripheral nerve graft transplantation; Ventral root re-implantation; Motoneuron survival and regeneration