Motor Nerve Transfers to Restore Extrinsic Median Nerve Function: Case Report

Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, School of Medicine, Washington University, 660 S Euclid, Campus Box 8238, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Hand 10/2008; 4(1):92-7. DOI: 10.1007/s11552-008-9128-9
Source: PubMed


Active pronation is important for many activities of daily living. Loss of median nerve function including pronation is a rare sequela of humerus fracture. Tendon transfers to restore pronation are reserved for the obstetrical brachial plexus palsy patient. Transfer of expendable motor nerves is a treatment modality that can be used to restore active pronation. Nerve transfers are advantageous in that they do not require prolonged immobilization postoperatively, avoid operating within the zone of injury, reinnervate muscles in their native location prior to degeneration of the motor end plates, and result in minimal donor deficit. We report a case of lost median nerve function after a humerus fracture. Pronation was restored with transfer of the extensor carpi radialis brevis branch of the radial nerve to the pronator teres branch of the median nerve. Anterior interosseous nerve function was restored with transfer of the supinator branch to the anterior interosseous nerve. Clinically evident motor function was seen at 4 months postoperatively and continued to improve for the following 18 months. The patient has 4+/5 pronator teres, 4+/5 flexor pollicis longus, and 4-/5 index finger flexor digitorum profundus function. The transfer of the extensor carpi radialis brevis branch of the radial nerve to the pronator teres and supinator branch of the radial nerve to the anterior interosseous nerve is a novel, previously unreported method to restore extrinsic median nerve function.

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    ABSTRACT: This article provides an update of the current strategies of motor and sensory nerve transfers for peripheral nerve lesions of the upper extremity. Indications, techniques, and outcomes are summarized for both well-established transfers used in the management of proximal and brachial plexus injuries as well as those more recently developed for more distal and isolated nerve injuries in the forearm and hand.
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    ABSTRACT: In lower lesions of the brachial plexus (C8-T1) there is good function of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, although that of the hand is impaired. Reconstruction of finger flexion is generally obtained by tendon transfer. We present a case report involving transfer of the motor nerve branch of the brachioradialis muscle to the anterior interosseous nerve to restore finger flexion in acute lower brachial plexus lesion. (J Hand Surg 2011;36A:394-397. Copyright (C) 2011 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. All rights reserved.)
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    ABSTRACT: LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Describe the pathophysiologic bases for nerve injury and how they apply to patient evaluation and management. 2. Recognize the wide variety of injury patterns and associated patient complaints and physical findings associated with peripheral nerve pathology. 3. Evaluate and recommend further tests to aid in defining the diagnosis. 4. Specify treatment options and potential risks and benefits. SUMMARY: Peripheral nerve disorders comprise a gamut of problems, ranging from entrapment neuropathy to direct open traumatic injury and closed brachial plexus injury. The pathophysiology of injury defines the patient's symptoms, examination findings, and treatment options and is critical to accurate diagnosis and treatment. The goals of treatment include management of the often associated pain and improvement of sensory and motor function. Understanding peripheral nerve anatomy is critical to adopting novel nerve transfer procedures, which may provide superior options for a variety of injury patterns.
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