Designing and optimizing a micromanipulator-controlled surgical tool for reproducible nerve crush injuries in mice
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Introduction: Recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury, even if temporary, is a devastating complication of anterior cervical surgical procedures, resulting in debilitating dysphonia and dysphagia. During surgery, injury can be imparted by stretching, crushing, cauterizing, and/or transecting the laryngeal nerves. The injury can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity and mechanism of insult. Treatment of the injury is generally palliative in nature and includes feeding tubes, voice and swallowing therapy, and diet modifications. The underlying pathophysiology of RLN is not completely understood. To effectively investigate various treatment strategies in mouse models, we need to improve the current translational animal model by standardizing the widely-used manual nerve crush techniques that apply variable force and may unintentionally add traction injuries. To control for these potential confounds, we are developing a micromanipulator-controlled surgical tool that (1) reliably applies a calibrated crush force injury, and (2) minimizes secondary injuries, such as traction, induced by manual methods.