Clinical application of ipsilateral C7 nerve root transfer for treatment of C5 and C6 avulsion of brachial plexus

Y-D Gu, P-Q Cai, F Xu, F Peng, L Chen
Microsurgery 2003, 23 (2): 105-8
We applied a nerve transfer, using the ipsilateral C7 nerve root to treat the C5 and C6 root avulsion of the brachial plexus. Four patients with C5 and C6 preganglionic injury were operated on with this new technique from 1998-2000. Transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the suprascapular nerve was simultaneously done in 2 these patients. After a follow-up of 1-2.5 years, the muscle strength of elbow flexors recovered to M4 (Lovett) in all cases, shoulder abduction of >90 degrees with external rotation of 30-40 degrees was gained in two cases, and that of 15-45 degrees with no external rotation in the other two cases. No remarkable impairment was found in all C7-innervated muscles except for decrease of muscle power of 1 grade (Lovett) in the short run. This new technique shows promise as an efficacious and safe treatment for C5 and C6 root avulsion of the brachial plexus. However, it should be applied prudently when incomplete injuries of the lower trunk are involved.

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