The Influence of Psychosocial Factors on Disability and Expected Improvement Before Surgery for Adult Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injury

PLANeT Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Psychosocial factors influence pain and recovery after extremity trauma and may be targets for early intervention. This may be of particular interest for patients with adult traumatic brachial plexus injury (BPI), given the broad and devastating impact of the injury. We hypothesized that there would be an association between depressive symptoms, anxiety, and pain interference with preoperative disability and expectations for improvement after BPI surgery. Methods: We enrolled 34 patients into a prospective multicenter cohort study for those undergoing surgery for adult traumatic BPI. Before surgery, participants completed Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System scales for pain interference, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, and a validated BPI-specific measure of disability and expected improvement. We performed Pearson correlation analysis between pain interference, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms with (A) disability and (B) expected improvement. We created separate linear regression models for (A) disability and (B) expected improvement including adjustment for severity of plexus injury, age, sex, and race. Results: Among 34 patients, there was a moderate, statistically significant, correlation between preoperative depressive symptoms and higher disability. This remained significant in a linear regression model adjusted for severity of plexus injury, age, sex, and race. There was no association between severity of plexus injury and disability. Depressive symptoms also were moderately, but significantly, correlated with higher expected improvement. This remained significant in a linear regression model adjusted for severity of plexus injury, age, sex, and race. Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are associated with greater disability and higher expected improvement before BPI surgery. Screening for depressive symptoms can help BPI teams identify patients who would benefit from early referral to mental health specialists and tailor appropriate expectations counseling for functional recovery. We did not find an association between severity of BPI and patient-reported disability, suggesting either that the scale may lack validity or that the sample is biased. Level of Evidence: Prognostic II.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

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