Nicholas A. Flugstad1, Jack B. Stephenson1, Rupeng Li2, Ji-Geng Yan1, Christopher Pawela2, Hani S. Matloub1, James S. Hyde2
1Plastic Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, United States; 2Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, United States
9.4T fMRI was done in a controlled rat survival model after total brachial plexus avulsion and cross C7 nerve tranfer. fMRI scans at 0, 3, 5, and 7 months after repair demonstrated remodeling of the sensory cortex of the rat forepaw. Over time, the signal migrated from the ipsilateral sensory cortex to the contralateral sensory cortex. This represents trans-hemispheric cortical remodelling and restoration of native somatotopy. After cross C7 nerve trnsfer, the rat brain seems to be capable of higher level reorganization in order to restore sensory input to its native anatomical location in the cortex.