Trends in Nerve Transfer Procedures Among Board-Eligible Orthopedic Hand Surgeons

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Abstract

Purpose: Enthusiasm for peripheral nerve transfers increased over the past several years, but further studies are still needed to establish the role of these procedures in peripheral nerve reconstruction. The primary goal of this study was to describe the frequency of nerve transfer surgery among newly trained orthopedic surgeons. Methods: We queried the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Part II case log database for all nerve reconstruction Current Procedural Terminology codes for examination years 2004 to 2018 for surgeries performed between 2003 and 2017. Information collected for each patient included examination year, year of surgery, surgeon fellowship training subspecialty, geographic region (as defined by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Part II case log database), patient age, and patient sex. Results: A total of 3,359 nerve reconstruction cases were logged by 1,542 individual candidates from examination years 2004 to 2018. Of the nerve reconstruction codes, 2.1% were nerve transfer codes. There was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of nerve transfer codes over the study period, from 0% of nerve reconstruction codes in examination years 2004 to 2006 to 4.1% of nerve reconstruction codes in examination years 2016 to 2018 (Z = –6.82; P <.001). Conclusions: There has been an increase in the number of nerve transfer procedures relative to all nerve reconstruction codes for peripheral nerve conditions. Clinical relevance: There is a modest but significant increase in nerve transfer procedures over time among newly trained orthopedic surgeons, which suggests the need for long-term outcomes studies for nerve transfers procedures performed in the setting of peripheral nerve conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery Global Online
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Hand surgery
  • Nerve reconstruction
  • Nerve surgery
  • Nerve transfers
  • Peripheral nerve

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