Restoration of sensation over the contact surfaces of the thumb-index pinch grip using the terminal branches of the superficial branch of the radial nerve

E Rapp, S Lallemand, S Ehrler, N Buch, G Foucher
Chirurgie de la Main 1999, 18 (3): 179-83
In huge median nerve losses and in some brachial plexus lesions, absence of sensation over the pulps of the index finger and the thumb preclude their use without visual control. Currently, end-to-side anastomosis is a new option available (when the ulnar nerve is intact) but we have reviewed the results of 7 cases of nerve anastomosis between the sensory branches of the radial nerve and the collateral nerves of the thumb (ulnar) and index finger (radial). Palmar translocation of the donor nerve, as classically performed, was used in two cases and the technique was subsequently modified to provide a better nerve suture by dorsal transfer of the collateral nerves of the thumb and index. Two sequellae of brachial plexus lesions and 5 cases of extensive defects of the median nerve were reviewed at a mean follow up of 5 years. With the classical technique the two point discrimination was 15 mm in one case and more in the other; with the modified technique, 4 patients achieved a thumb discriminaTion of 9 mm, 12 mm (2 cases) and 13 mm.

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