"There is still no published case in which the condition of
the end organ in the skin has been thoroughly correlated
with functional recovery. It is therefore not yet possible
to say how far the excess of innervation and abnormal shapes
of the endings are responsible for the aberrations of sensations
which are observed. There is every reason to think that the
correlations will be found,tó beclose,'though..the imperfect
maturation of the nerve trunks may be equally important in
producing these aberrations .In fact the whole process
of normalisation of structure and function in the skin during
recovery is well worth further study." (J. Z. Young 1942).
In spite of the widespread use of electrophysiological techniques for
recording from peripheral nerve fibres, and the great increase in knowledge of the innervation of normal skin since the above was written,
Guth was still able to say in 1956, "There are no major differences
from the processes previously described." An attempt will be made in
the present essay to correlate the well documented findings in the field
with some recent experiments and to try to fill in in part, the gap
in knowledge referred to above. Needless to say more questions will
be posed than answered.
The very nature of the work results in it being mainly descriptive,
in answer to the question, "What happen' to sense organs and sensory
fibres after injury to the afferent nerve?" Until this question is
answered fully it is perhaps unwise to ask the next one of "How do the
changes observed come about?" Tentative answers will, however, be suggested, though this part of the essay, will,of necessity, be highly conjectural.