Nerve and tendon transfer surgery in cervical spinal cord injury: Individualized choices to optimize function

Ida K. Fox, Amanda K. Miller, Catherine M. Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Recent adaption of nerve transfer surgery to improve upper extremity function in cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) is an exciting development. Tendon transfer procedures are well established, reliable, and can significantly improve function. Despite this, few eligible surgical candidates in the United States undergo these restorative surgeries. Evidence Acquisition: The literature on these procedures was reviewed. Results: Options to improve function include surgery to restore elbow extension, wrist extension, and hand opening and closing function. Tendon transfers are reliable and well tolerated but require weeks of immobilization and limits on extremity use. The role of nerve transfers is still being established. Early results indicate variable return of meaningful function with less immobilization but longer periods (up to years) required to gain appreciable function. Conclusion: Nerve and tendon transfer surgery sacrifice an expendable donor to restore a missing and more critical function. These procedures are well described in hand surgery; are reliable, well tolerated, and covered by insurance; and should be part of the SCI rehabilitation discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-287
Number of pages13
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Keywords

  • Nerve transfer
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tendon transfer
  • Tetraplegia
  • Upper extremity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nerve and tendon transfer surgery in cervical spinal cord injury: Individualized choices to optimize function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this