Triceps motor branch transfer has been used in upper brachial plexus injury and is potentially effective for isolated axillary nerve injury in lieu of sural nerve grafting. We evaluated the functional outcome of this procedure and determined factors that influenced the outcome.
A retrospective chart review was performed of 21 patients (mean age, 38 y; range, 16-79 y) who underwent triceps motor branch transfer for the treatment of isolated axillary nerve injury. Deltoid muscle strength was evaluated using the modified British Medical Research Council grading at the last follow-up (mean, 21 mo; range, 12-41 mo). The following variables were analyzed to determine whether they affected the outcome of the nerve transfer: the age and sex of the patient, delay from injury to surgery, body mass index (BMI), severity of trauma, and presence of rotator cuff lesions. The Spearman correlation coefficient and multiple linear regression were performed for statistical analysis.
The average Medical Research Council grade of deltoid muscle strength was 3.5 ± 1.1. Deltoid muscle strength correlated with the age of the patient, delay from injury to surgery, and BMI of the patient. Five patients failed to achieve more than M3 grade. Among them, 4 patients were older than 50 years and 1 was treated 14 months after injury. In the multiple linear regression model, the delay from injury to surgery, age of the patient, and BMI of the patient were the important factors, in that order, that affected the outcome of this procedure.
Isolated axillary nerve injury can be treated successfully with triceps motor branch transfer. However, outstanding outcomes are not universal, with one fourth failing to achieve M3 strength. The outcome of this procedure is affected by the delay from injury to surgery and the age and BMI of the patient.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that health of the donor nerve and corresponding muscle, as assessed by electromyography (EMG), could predict the outcome of nerve transfer surgery.
A retrospective review was performed to investigate outcomes of nerve transfers for elbow flexion and shoulder abduction. Motor strength was graded preoperatively and after a minimum 1-year follow-up. Preoperative EMG results were classified as functionally normal or affected based on motor unit recruitment pattern and correlated with follow-up motor strength and range of motion.
Forty nerve transfers were identified: 27 were performed for elbow flexion and 13 for shoulder abduction. Overall, the 29 transfers in the normal EMG cohort showed significantly greater postoperative improvement in motor strength (Medical Research Council grade 0.2-4.1) than the 11 transfers in the affected EMG cohort (grade 0.0-3.0). In the shoulder cohort, normal donor nerves resulted in greater strength (grade 4.0 vs. 2.4) and active motion (83° vs. 25°) compared with affected donor nerves. Double fascicular transfers with 2 normal donor nerves demonstrated improved strength compared with double nerve transfers when 1 donor nerve was affected (grade 4.5 vs. 3.2).
Our findings demonstrate that a simple EMG classification that describes the quality of donor nerves can predict outcome as measured by postoperative motor strength and range of motion. Preoperative EMG evaluation should be considered a valuable supplementary component of the donor nerve selection process when planning brachial plexus reconstruction.
The Journal of hand surgery 11/2013; 39(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jhsa.2013.09.042 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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