A simple new procedure could repair severed sciatic nerves in minutes and have the patient walking within days rather than months.
This relatively inexpensive treatment could dramatically increase the speed of post-surgery recovery while creating greater potential for full function of the injured area.
University of Texas scientists studied invertebrates’ ability to regenerate nerve axons much more quickly than mammals and mimicked the process.
Through operating on paralyzed rats, a UT research team discovered that preventing the body’s self-healing process keeps the nerve ends from sealing themselves off, making it more difficult to later reattach them.
UT professor George Bittner, who led the study, found that keeping the injured area calcium-free prevents the self-repairing process. Doing this makes for an easier surgery, in which he then begins the self-healing process himself by injecting a calcium-rich solution.
Through this encouraging of the nerves to reattach themselves, Bittner springs the beginning of a healthy healing process.
Bittner has successfully performed this procedure on 200 rats, making a promising prospect for humans with damaged nerves.
Have tolerance for a little light surgery? Watch the amazing video of paralyzed rats walking again here.