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Every year, millions of people suffer peripheral nerve injury as the result of motor vehicle, sporting or work-related incidents. Nerve injuries result in pain, numbness, burning or tingling, or complete paralysis of the affected limb. Many people with nerve injuries are unable to work or participate in their favourite sport, and even simple things like getting dressed or making a cup of coffee becomes difficult. 

Surgery to repair damaged nerves is delicate and complicated, and only successful some of the time. Orthocell’s CelGro™ collagen membrane assists in rejoining severed or severely damaged peripheral nerves to restore function and sensation. 

Adrian’s story

Adrian Walsh (43) was diagnosed with quadriplegia after he broke his neck in a mountain bike accident in June 2017. He retained some movement in his elbows and upper arms, but his hands, torso, and legs were paralysed and his arms didn’t have enough strength to use a wheelchair on his own. Since his treatment with CelGro™, Adrian’s improved arm strength and function has given him more independence and the ability to take on new challenges, like wheelchair rugby.

“When I heard about the CelGro™ trial, I thought it was worth a try. My arm now feels 500 percent better than before the procedure. … It’s been so worth it”.

Watch the video for more on Adrian’s story.

 
 

Promising Clinical Results

Early results from Orthocell’s clinical trial using CelGro™ in nerve repair were extremely encouraging. The first patients to complete the trial experienced an 83 % improvement in muscle power and regained feeling in their limbs with no pain.

“After my football injury, I had no feeling in my right shoulder. I couldn’t pick up my kids, swim or play football…I’m living a normal life now. I can pick up my kids and I even swam a duo to Rottnest!  I might even be able to play footy again next year, something that I thought would never happen.” – Daniel Hunt, trial participant.  

The encouraging early results from the trial gave Dr Alex O’Beirne, the trial’s Principal Investigator, the confidence to attempt nerve repair on more complex injuries. The most recent results from the first 12 patients have validated these early findings. At 12 months post-treatment:

  • 96% of nerve repairs restored voluntary movement to previously paralysed muscles and

  • 86% of patients who required prescription medication (including opioid-based medications) for chronic nerve pain were able to significantly reduce or stop using them.

Almost half the nerve repairs (11 of 25) were performed in three quadriplegic patients with partial or total loss of movement in both arms and legs. The results have been significant, with 73% of nerve repairs resulting in meaningful recovery of muscle function. One quadriplegic patient regained sufficient arm and hand function to perform simple tasks such as brushing his teeth, drinking from a cup, and transferring into and out of his wheelchair.

More information on CelGro™’s nerve regeneration trial can be found here

Tensionless Repair

Nerve repair with CelGro™ does not require the use of sutures to hold the membrane in place (see CelGro™ surgical procedure below). Tensionless repair is highly desirable in nerve reconstruction for several reasons, but primarily because it reduces the risk of additional damage to the nerve, and it reduces the time needed to complete the surgery. Orthocell designed CelGro™ with handling characteristics to assist surgeons perform complex reconstructive surgical procedures with tensionless repair. 

 
 

“(Nerve repair) surgery can be very complex and difficult, but using CelGro™ has enabled us to rejoin severed nerves without sutures, so they’re not under undue tension.  CelGro™ is proving to increase the strength and quality of the repair and makes surgery easier.  I am very pleased with the patient’s progress regaining use of affected limbs faster than I would have expected and they continue to improve.”  – Dr Alex O’Beirne, Orthopaedic nerve specialist and CelGro™ trial Principal Investigator 

CelGro™ Surgical Procedure

1. Peripheral Nerve Injury   Crushed peripheral nerve after traumatic injury to limb

1. Peripheral Nerve Injury

Crushed peripheral nerve after traumatic injury to limb

4.   CelGro™ guides and supports nerve repair   New nerve fibres reconnect

4. CelGro™ guides and supports nerve repair

New nerve fibres reconnect

2 .  Preparation of Repair Site   Damaged section of nerve is removed and the ends are brought to repair site without tension

2. Preparation of Repair Site

Damaged section of nerve is removed and the ends are brought to repair site without tension

5. Healed nerve   Healed nerve restores function and sensation to affected limb

5. Healed nerve

Healed nerve restores function and sensation to affected limb

3 .  Microsurgical Repair with CelGro™   CelGro™ is wrapped around nerve and secured, forming a sealed conduit

3. Microsurgical Repair with CelGro™

CelGro™ is wrapped around nerve and secured, forming a sealed conduit

 

More about CelGro™  

CelGro™ is a unique collagen medical device intended for use in tissue regeneration and repair. CelGro™ enhances nerve regeneration in 3 different ways. 

  1. CelGro™ protects the area of injury by preventing other faster-growing cells invading the repair site

  2. CelGro™ guides the growth of new nerve fibres and creates a favourable microenvironment of growth factors and nutrients to support the growth of healthy nerve cells

  3. CelGro™ is highly biocompatible, and does not cause inflammation at the repair site. CelGro™ is completely resorbed within 6 months with no scar tissue formation