It has long been known by physiologists and anatomists that it is more difficult to prevent regeneration of a severed nerve or one from which a large segment may have been removed than to obtain regeneration of the severed nerve after suture. This has been found to be true whatever measures may have been taken to prevent regeneration.
This is also well known to physicians who have attempted to prevent regeneration of the trifacial nerve when, after section of its peripheral branches, the proximal end may have been injected with alcohol or the nerve avulsed from its bony canal and the canal filled with bone plugs.
The failure to prevent regeneration of the distal segment of a severed nerve led some authors to attempt to refute the wallerian doctrine. Among the first were Philipeaux and Vulpian.1 They performed experiments on young mammals, dogs, guinea pigs and chicks. They excised
POLLOCK LJ, GOLSETH JG, MAYFIELD F, ARIEFF AJ, LIEBERT E, OESTER YT. SPONTANEOUS REGENERATION OF SEVERED NERVES. JAMA. 1947;134(4):330–333. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880210008002
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