Spinal accessory nerve to triceps muscle transfer using long autologous nerve grafts for recovery of elbow extension in traumatic brachial plexus injuries

Liselotte F. Bulstra, Nadia Rbia, Michelle F. Kircher, Robert J. Spinner, Allen Thorp Bishop, Alexander Yong-Shik Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Reconstructive options for brachial plexus lesions continue to expand and improve. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and quality of restored elbow extension in patients with brachial plexus injuries who underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle with an intervening autologous nerve graft and to identify patient and injury factors that influence functional triceps outcome. METHODS A total of 42 patients were included in this retrospective review. All patients underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle as part of their reconstruction plan after brachial plexus injury. The primary outcome was elbow extension strength according to the modified Medical Research Council muscle grading scale, and signs of triceps muscle recovery were recorded using electromyography. RESULTS When evaluating the entire study population (follow-up range 12-45 months, mean 24.3 months), 52.4% of patients achieved meaningful recovery. More specifically, 45.2% reached Grade 0 or 1 recovery, 19.1% obtained Grade 2, and 35.7% improved to Grade 3 or better. The presence of a vascular injury impaired functional outcome. In the subgroup with a minimum follow-up of 20 months (n = 26), meaningful recovery was obtained by 69.5%. In this subgroup, 7.7% had no recovery (Grade 0), 19.2% had recovery to Grade 1, and 23.1% had recovery to Grade 2. Grade 3 or better was reached by 50% of patients, of whom 34.5% obtained Grade 4 elbow extension. CONCLUSIONS Transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the radial nerve branch to the long head of the triceps muscle with an interposition nerve graft is an adequate option for restoration of elbow extension, despite the relatively long time required for reinnervation. The presence of vascular injury impairs functional recovery of the triceps muscle, and the use of shorter nerve grafts is recommended when and if possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1047
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Volume129
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Fingerprint

Arm Injuries
Accessory Nerve
Brachial Plexus
Elbow
Transplants
Radial Nerve
Muscles
Vascular System Injuries
Patient Transfer
Electromyography
Biomedical Research
Wounds and Injuries

Keywords

  • brachial plexus injury
  • elbow extension
  • nerve transfer
  • peripheral nerve
  • spinal accessory nerve
  • triceps muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Spinal accessory nerve to triceps muscle transfer using long autologous nerve grafts for recovery of elbow extension in traumatic brachial plexus injuries. / Bulstra, Liselotte F.; Rbia, Nadia; Kircher, Michelle F.; Spinner, Robert J.; Bishop, Allen Thorp; Shin, Alexander Yong-Shik.

In: Journal of Neurosurgery, Vol. 129, No. 4, 01.10.2018, p. 1041-1047.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "OBJECTIVE Reconstructive options for brachial plexus lesions continue to expand and improve. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and quality of restored elbow extension in patients with brachial plexus injuries who underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle with an intervening autologous nerve graft and to identify patient and injury factors that influence functional triceps outcome. METHODS A total of 42 patients were included in this retrospective review. All patients underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle as part of their reconstruction plan after brachial plexus injury. The primary outcome was elbow extension strength according to the modified Medical Research Council muscle grading scale, and signs of triceps muscle recovery were recorded using electromyography. RESULTS When evaluating the entire study population (follow-up range 12-45 months, mean 24.3 months), 52.4{\%} of patients achieved meaningful recovery. More specifically, 45.2{\%} reached Grade 0 or 1 recovery, 19.1{\%} obtained Grade 2, and 35.7{\%} improved to Grade 3 or better. The presence of a vascular injury impaired functional outcome. In the subgroup with a minimum follow-up of 20 months (n = 26), meaningful recovery was obtained by 69.5{\%}. In this subgroup, 7.7{\%} had no recovery (Grade 0), 19.2{\%} had recovery to Grade 1, and 23.1{\%} had recovery to Grade 2. Grade 3 or better was reached by 50{\%} of patients, of whom 34.5{\%} obtained Grade 4 elbow extension. CONCLUSIONS Transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the radial nerve branch to the long head of the triceps muscle with an interposition nerve graft is an adequate option for restoration of elbow extension, despite the relatively long time required for reinnervation. The presence of vascular injury impairs functional recovery of the triceps muscle, and the use of shorter nerve grafts is recommended when and if possible.",
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AU - Spinner, Robert J.

AU - Bishop, Allen Thorp

AU - Shin, Alexander Yong-Shik

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N2 - OBJECTIVE Reconstructive options for brachial plexus lesions continue to expand and improve. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and quality of restored elbow extension in patients with brachial plexus injuries who underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle with an intervening autologous nerve graft and to identify patient and injury factors that influence functional triceps outcome. METHODS A total of 42 patients were included in this retrospective review. All patients underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle as part of their reconstruction plan after brachial plexus injury. The primary outcome was elbow extension strength according to the modified Medical Research Council muscle grading scale, and signs of triceps muscle recovery were recorded using electromyography. RESULTS When evaluating the entire study population (follow-up range 12-45 months, mean 24.3 months), 52.4% of patients achieved meaningful recovery. More specifically, 45.2% reached Grade 0 or 1 recovery, 19.1% obtained Grade 2, and 35.7% improved to Grade 3 or better. The presence of a vascular injury impaired functional outcome. In the subgroup with a minimum follow-up of 20 months (n = 26), meaningful recovery was obtained by 69.5%. In this subgroup, 7.7% had no recovery (Grade 0), 19.2% had recovery to Grade 1, and 23.1% had recovery to Grade 2. Grade 3 or better was reached by 50% of patients, of whom 34.5% obtained Grade 4 elbow extension. CONCLUSIONS Transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the radial nerve branch to the long head of the triceps muscle with an interposition nerve graft is an adequate option for restoration of elbow extension, despite the relatively long time required for reinnervation. The presence of vascular injury impairs functional recovery of the triceps muscle, and the use of shorter nerve grafts is recommended when and if possible.

AB - OBJECTIVE Reconstructive options for brachial plexus lesions continue to expand and improve. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and quality of restored elbow extension in patients with brachial plexus injuries who underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle with an intervening autologous nerve graft and to identify patient and injury factors that influence functional triceps outcome. METHODS A total of 42 patients were included in this retrospective review. All patients underwent transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the motor branch of the radial nerve to the long head of the triceps muscle as part of their reconstruction plan after brachial plexus injury. The primary outcome was elbow extension strength according to the modified Medical Research Council muscle grading scale, and signs of triceps muscle recovery were recorded using electromyography. RESULTS When evaluating the entire study population (follow-up range 12-45 months, mean 24.3 months), 52.4% of patients achieved meaningful recovery. More specifically, 45.2% reached Grade 0 or 1 recovery, 19.1% obtained Grade 2, and 35.7% improved to Grade 3 or better. The presence of a vascular injury impaired functional outcome. In the subgroup with a minimum follow-up of 20 months (n = 26), meaningful recovery was obtained by 69.5%. In this subgroup, 7.7% had no recovery (Grade 0), 19.2% had recovery to Grade 1, and 23.1% had recovery to Grade 2. Grade 3 or better was reached by 50% of patients, of whom 34.5% obtained Grade 4 elbow extension. CONCLUSIONS Transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the radial nerve branch to the long head of the triceps muscle with an interposition nerve graft is an adequate option for restoration of elbow extension, despite the relatively long time required for reinnervation. The presence of vascular injury impairs functional recovery of the triceps muscle, and the use of shorter nerve grafts is recommended when and if possible.

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