Nerve transfers in the hand and upper extremity surgery

Susan E. Mackinnon, Stephen H. Colbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Modern nerve-to-nerve transfers represent one of the greatest advances in peripheral nerve surgery. Lessons of tendon transfers have taught that nerves to specific musculotendinous units are expendable, and greater understanding of peripheral nerve topography has revealed redundant fascicles in peripheral nerves. Transfer of these redundant or expendable nerves to recipient nerves close to the end organ allows for earlier reinnervation and preservation of those musculotendinous units. Such nerve transfers provide significantly better treatment options in many cases of nerve injury where previous outcomes were expected to be poor, such as with proximal injuries, long nerve gaps, or unavailability of the proximal injured segment. This article will review current nerve transfers in the hand and upper extremity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-33
Number of pages14
JournalTechniques in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008


  • Nerve transfers
  • Peripheral nerve surgery
  • Upper extremity

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