Lower Extremity Nerve Transfers in Acute Flaccid Myelitis Patients: A Case Series

Amy Moore, Carrie Roth Bettlach, Thomas T. Tung, Julie M. West, Stephanie A. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is characterized by flaccid paralysis following prodromal symptoms. Complete recovery is rare, and patients typically have residual extremity weakness. This study aimed to describe the technique and outcomes of lower extremity nerve transfers for children with AFM. Methods: A retrospective review of eight children who developed AFM in 2016 and had lower extremity nerve transfers was performed. Principles of nerve transfer were applied to develop novel nerve transfer procedures to restore function for this patient population. Pre- and postoperative muscle strength grades were reviewed, and qualitative improvements in function were recorded. Results: A variety of nerve transfers were utilized in eight patients with average time to surgery from AFM diagnosis of 15.7 months. Restoration of gluteal, femoral, hamstring, and gastrocnemius function was attempted. Variable MRC grade improvement was achieved (range MRC grade 0-4). All patients reported subjective improvements in function. Four of five patients with follow-up who underwent nerve transfers for restoration of gluteal function transitioned from wheelchair use to walking with assistive devices as their primary modes of ambulation. No donor site complications occurred. Conclusions: The unique needs of this patient population and variable patterns of residual weakness require meticulous assessment and development of individualized surgical plans. With appropriate goals and expectations in mind, functional improvement may be achieved, including return to ambulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3699
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


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