The present study examined the effects of functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) on reinnervation of the posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) muscle. In 4 canines, the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) was sectioned and anastomosed and a patch electrode array implanted for stimulation and recording at multiple PCA sites. Following implantation, FNS was applied to 2 canines for a period of 6 weeks. Two additional animals served as nonstimulated controls. In each animal, histomorphometric analysis of the RLN was used to assess the quality of nerve regeneration and the potential for muscle reconnection. The magnitude of reinnervation was monitored by electromyographic (EMG) potentials evoked by RLN stimulation. The appropriateness of reconnection was determined by the pattern of spontaneous EMG activity and recovery of vocal fold abduction. Results of this preliminary study indicated that FNS caused an overall repression of reinnervation. However, the repression preferentially inhibited reconnection by foreign nerve fibers, promoting selective reinnervation and preventing synkinesis.

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