Objective: The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of decimeter waves on nerve healing in a rat peripheral nerve injury model.
Method: Twenty-four hours after the operation, the experimental group (40 rats) was treated with decimeter waves. Another 40 rats that did not undergo decimeter wave therapy were assigned as the control group. Gross and light microscopy assessments were performed on the 7th, 14th, 30th, 60th and 90th day after the operation. Electron microscopy analysis was performed on the 14th, 30th and 60th day. Axon image analysis and electrophysiological assessment of sciatic nerves were performed on the 90th day after the operation. Sciatic nerve function was evaluated using the walking track analysis on the 30th, 60th and 90th day after the operation.
Result: Histological analysis revealed that decimeter waves can increase local blood circulation, inhibit inflammation infiltration, and reduce perineural adhesions. Moreover, decimeter waves can promote axon regeneration and the remyelination of injured nerves, as well as the maturation of regenerated nerve structures. Electron microscopy, axon image, electrophysiological and walking track analyses revealed that the decimeter wave group had more myelinated nerve fiber counts, larger mean axon diameter and myelin sheath thickness, shorter latency of compound muscle action potential, faster nerve conduction velocity and higher wave amplitude, and better sciatic functional index recovery rates, when compared to the control group (all P<0.01).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that decimeter waves can promote the regeneration of peripheral nerves and functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury. However, further studies are warranted.