Ground-Breaking New Surgery Comes to the UK

Ground-Breaking New Surgery Comes to the UK

Hospital Innovations recently became the first UK provider of human nerves for transplant – a breakthrough which has revolutionised the way in which peripheral nerve injuries are treated. We were recently asked to talk about this ground-breaking new surgery and comment on the fact that Wales is developing hubs to attract global technology advancement and innovation, on Welsh-language news programme Newyddion 9. Read on for the full press release.


A Welsh-based supplier of human tissue for surgery has become the first UK provider of human nerves for transplant – a breakthrough which has revolutionised the way in which peripheral nerve injuries are treated.

Hospital Innovations is working closely with AxoGen, the American company responsible for the technological advances which have made nerve grafting with processed allograft a viable medical option, and is the company’s only UK distributor.

Used to restore motor and sensory functions to peripheral nerves, the surgery is currently being introduced in the UK at a number of London hospitals, but in America it has been used for more than six years in operations such as those to repair injured nerves in damaged arms or legs, in order to restore movement and/or sensation to hands and feet.

Phil Davies, Managing Director of Cardiff-based Hospital Innovations, said: “This development is hugely exciting for us and the surgeons we work with.

“It is extremely difficult to retrieve, process and sterilise nerves which is why this breakthrough hasn’t happened sooner. This is a major surgical advancement and who knows where it might lead. For now it is limited to peripheral nerves but a few years ago, a nerve allograft like this was unthinkable.”

To date, UK surgeons have carried out several nerve allografts implantations and are currently closely monitoring the recovery of those patients. All the indications are good which is very much in line with findings from the US where no graft-related rejection or infection has been reported in published studies[1].

Karen Zaderej, CEO of AxoGen, Inc. commented : “Avance® Nerve Graft is creating a new paradigm for the way in which injured nerves are repaired in the United States and we are pleased to partner with Hospital Innovations to bring our technology to surgeons and patients in the United Kingdom.”

Currently in the UK, many hospitals repair injured nerve using autograft. However, this is far from a perfect solution because it requires a second surgical site which can increase surgical time and may cause increased operation length. With this new product, surgeons have the flexibility to choose the appropriate diameter and length to allow for customised peripheral nerve repairs.

Avance® Nerve Graft is processed and sterilised in America and then transported to the Hospital Innovations site in St Mellons, Cardiff, where they are stored in the company’s Daihan Dual Compressor freezers.

The major markets that Hospital Innovations operates in are hip revision, spinal surgery, restorative knee surgery and a number of innovative solutions for soft tissue damage related to the early onset of osteoarthritis of the knee.

[1] Brooks et al. study & Karabekmez et al. study