Comparative study of laser and scalpel nerve transections

Isabelle Fligny, Justin S. Wu, Bernadette R. Samonte, Marvin P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This investigation was designed to compare standard scalpel transections of the tibial branch of the rat sciatic nerve with those performed using either a milliwatt carbon dioxide (CO2) or a potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP/532) laser. Four transection groups consisted of nerves sectioned with (1) scalpel (control), (2) milliwatt CO2 laser, (3) KTP/532 with microscope attachment, and (4) KTP/532 laser with 400‐n‐m bare fiber. Each laser was used with the same parameters: 10 watts, 0.4‐mm spot size, and continuous‐wave mode. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was applied to the proximal stump for 30 min, and the animals were sacrificed 24 h later. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP)‐labeled motoneuron cell bodies in the lumbar spinal cord were then counted. The average numbers of labeled neurons in each group were as follows: group I (n = 14) 518, group II (n = 8) 424, group III (n = 8) 351, and group IV (n = 8) 283. The standard deviations were quite large, however. When all laser transections were pooled and compared with paired scalpel transections, we found a significant difference, both by the paired t‐test (P = 0.016) and by the Wilcoxon matched‐paired test (P = 0.02). We conclude that laser transection significantly diminishes the number of neurons labeled by the retrograde transport of HRP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • anterograde transport
  • axonal transport
  • horseradish peroxidase
  • microtubules
  • retrograde transport
  • sciatic nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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