Heterotopic autologous muscle transplants of the left soleus muscle were performed in 39 Wistar rats. In analogy to the method described by Hakelius, the muscle was implanted into the bed of the contralateral superficial flexor muscle of the fingers with a varying prestretch of 0, 25 and 50% of its original length at rest. The animals were sacrificed postoperatively after 5, 10, 20, 40 and 60 days and their musculature examined. It was found that revascularisation and reneurotisation depended on the degree of prestretching applied. If prestretching amounted to 25 and 50%, complete degeneration of the connective tissue of the transplanted muscle occurred. However, even if prestretching was only low, i.e. between 0 and 5%, only one-third of the muscle mass regenerated and was interspersed with connective tissue of low cellular and vascular content with cicatrisation. These findings were also seen--to a lesser degree--if the soleus muscle was only denervated. We can conclude from this that restretching plays a decisive role even in the transplantation of striated muscle, as far as revascularisation and reneurotisation are concerned, and that even under the most favourable conditions only part of the transplanted muscle retains its full functional capacity. Furthermore, direct nerve anastomoses between the pudendal nerve and a branch of the femoral nerve supplying the transplanted semitendinous muscle, were performed in four Syrian goats. It was found that neurotisation of the muscle via microanastomosis is preferable to diffuse reneurotisation via the transplant bed. However, problems arose in respect of the blood supply of the transplanted semitendinous muscle, when using the technique after Holle and Freilinger.
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