Reconstruction of pediatric brachial plexus injuries with nerve grafts and nerve transfers

Harvey Chim, Michelle F. Kircher, Robert J. Spinner, Allen Thorp Bishop, Alexander Yong-Shik Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose To review the demographics and injury patterns in consecutive pediatric patients with traumatic brachial plexus injury presenting to a single center over a 16-year period and to review the outcomes of nerve grafting and nerve transfers for reconstruction of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion in these patients. Methods Forty-five pediatric patients presented for treatment of traumatic Brachial plexus injury from 1996 to 2012. Subgroup analysis of patients who had nerve grafting or nerve transfers for restoration of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion was carried out to compare outcomes of Medical Research Council (MRC) motor grading. Results The mean age of patients was 13.8 years (range, 3-17 y). Panplexal injuries (62%) and upper plexus injuries (16%) were particularly common. There was a very high proportion of preganglionic injuries (91%). Six of the 10 of patients who underwent intraplexal nerve grafting only for restoration of shoulder abduction achieved grade 3 or better power compared with 42% (5/12) of patients who had nerve transfers. When contralateral C7 was used as a donor for nerve transfer in restoration of shoulder abduction, 1 of the 5 patients achieved grade 3 or better shoulder abduction. All 4 patients who had nerve grafts for restoration of elbow flexion achieved grade 3 or better power, compared with 11 of 12 patients who had nerve transfers. There was no statistical difference in outcome (MRC grade 3 or 4) between patients who had nerve grafts and those who had nerve transfers. Conclusions This study shows that nerve grafts can result in similar outcomes (MRC grading) to nerve transfers for restoration of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion in traumatic pediatric BPI. The findings of this study do not support the use of contralateral C7 as a donor for nerve transfer in reconstruction of shoulder abduction in this age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1771-1778
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Volume39
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Brachial plexus injury
  • contralateral C7
  • nerve graft
  • nerve transfer
  • pediatric brachial plexus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery

Cite this