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Keywords:

  • larynx;
  • nerve conduit;
  • neurotrophic factor;
  • peripheral nerve injury;
  • synkinesis

Abstract

The peripheral nervous system has the intrinsic capacity to regenerate but the reinnervation of muscles is often suboptimal and results in limited recovery of function. Injuries to nerves that innervate complex organs such as the larynx are particularly difficult to treat. The many functions of the larynx have evolved through the intricate neural regulation of highly specialized laryngeal muscles. In this review, we examine the responses of nerves and muscles to injury, focusing on changes in the expression of neurotrophic factors, and highlight differences between the skeletal limb and laryngeal muscle systems. We also describe how artificial nerve conduits have become a useful tool for delivery of neurotrophic factors as therapeutic agents to promote peripheral nerve repair and might eventually be useful in the treatment of laryngeal nerve injury.