Health

Researchers at the Medical University of Silesia are working on a peripheral nerve prosthesis

Photo: Fotolia
Photo: Fotolia

Researchers at the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice have developed a prosthesis with an internal scaffold for regeneration of a leg or hand peripheral nerve, damaged as a result of injury.

"We are now testing this prosthesis on animals and ultimately it will be used to repair nerve damage in humans" - says Dr. Adam Właszczuk from the Department of Physiology of the Medical University of Silesia.

According to Właszczuk, when nerve damage is extensive, natural regeneration processes are often disrupted. For example, neuromas form, the patient is in pain and does not regain full control of the limb.

"We implant nerve guides in the place of damage. These guides are tubes with internal scaffold made of biodegradable chitin fibres from shellfish shells or fungi - and a polymeric shell made of polymer used to produce absorbable surgical sutures. We use these materials to build a tube that helps the nerves grow and reconnect" - explains Dr. Właszczuk.

In the case of damage to the peripheral nerve, doctors also use patient's own nerve grafts collected from a different part of the body, where their removal causes a relatively small loss. "But this always involves a mutilation of the patient" - emphasises the scientist.

The prosthesis was presented during the networking meeting of scientists with the theme "One Billion in a Patent" at the Medical University of Silesia. (PAP)

Author: Anna Gumułka

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