A Systematic Review on the Use of Fibrin Glue for Peripheral Nerve Repair
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BACKGROUND: Although Tisseel (Baxter, Deerfield, Ill.) was introduced over 30 years ago, the literature remains scant regarding its use and efficacy in peripheral nerve repairs. The goal of this systematic review was to summarize current literature on this topic and discuss differences in clinical outcome between the use of fibrin glue and conventional suturing methods for the repair of peripheral nerves. METHODS: A comprehensive electronic literature search was run in the following databases: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE. Articles were classified into three categories: animal, human, and cadaveric studies. RESULTS: Sixteen articles were included in the final analysis (kappa = 0.78). The most consistent outcome measure of the studies assessed was histopathology, which was evaluated in nine of 16 studies. This was followed closely by biomechanics, which were evaluated in eight of 16 studies. Histopathological studies demonstrated less significant granulomatous inflammation in the fibrin groups as well as better overall axonal regeneration, fiber alignment, and recovery of nerve conduction velocities. Animal and cadaveric studies demonstrated no significant differences in stiffness and peak load at failure between microsuture and fibrin groups. CONCLUSIONS: Although the majority of the reviewed studies employed animal models, most indicated that the performance of fibrin glue was equal, if not superior, to that of microsuturing when repairing peripheral nerves. Overall, many authors reported that fibrin glue was a quicker and easier modality to use than microsuture repair. There is, however, not a single well-controlled human trial assessing the efficacy of fibrin glue in relation to that of suturing techniques.
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