Learning Objectives: After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Identify the prerequisite conditions to perform a tendon or a nerve transfer. 2. Detail some of the current nerve and tendon transfer options in upper extremity peripheral nerve injuries. 3. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of tendon and nerve transfers used in isolation and in combination. 4. Appreciate the controversies that surround the nerve/tendon transfers. 5. Realize the treatment outcomes of peripheral nerve injuries. Summary: Traditional treatment of a Sunderland fourth- or fifth-degree peripheral nerve injury has been direct neurorrhaphy, nerve grafting, or tendon transfers. With increasing knowledge of nerve pathophysiology, additional treatment options such as nerve transfers have become increasingly popular. With an array of choices for treating peripheral nerve injuries, there is debate as to whether tendon transfers and/or nerve transfers should be performed to restore upper extremity function. Often, tendon and nerve transfers are used in combination as opposed to one in isolation to obtain the most normal functioning extremity without unacceptable donor deficits. The authors tend to prefer reconstructive techniques that have proven long-term efficacy to restore function. Nerve transfers are becoming more common practice, with excellent results; however, the authors are wary of using nerve transfers that sacrifice possible secondary tendon reconstruction should the nerve transfer fail.
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