A previous report from our laboratory indicated that nerve regeneration through silicone tubes filled with self-assembled collagen fibers was affected by the biodegradation rate of the collagen. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of removal of the distal nerve stump from the silicone tube filled with collagen fibers. Results obtained indicate that in the absence of the distal nerve stump, an implant containing collagen fibers facilitates Schwann cell migration and axonal elongation only when the implant does not biodegrade prior to nerve regeneration (by 8 weeks post-implantation). These results and results of previous studies suggest that the presence or absence of the distal nerve stump affects the extent of regeneration through a silicone tube filled with collagen fibers. Nerve regeneration occurs less frequently in the absence of the distal stump. This model may be a more sensitive test of regeneration in the presence of entubulation devices.
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