Contralateral C7 transfer for the treatment of brachial plexus root avulsions in children - a report of 12 cases

Liang Chen, Yu-Dong Gu, Shao-Nan Hu, Jian-Guang Xu, Lei Xu, Yang Fu
Journal of Hand Surgery 2007, 32 (1): 96-103

PURPOSE: To retrospectively determine the risks and benefits of contralateral C7 nerve root transfer in infants and children.

METHODS: In 12 infants and children with brachial plexus root avulsions from birth injury or other trauma, the common trunk of the contralateral C7 root was transferred to the trunk, division, cord, or nerve branch(es) on the affected side with 2 different types of interposition grafts. The surgery was performed in 1 stage for 5 patients and in 2 stages for 7 patients.

RESULTS: Patients were followed up for a mean of 42 months, with a minimum of 21 months. Noteworthy function (> or = M2+, modified British Medical Research Council grading system) was gained in 10 of 12 patients and sensory function (> or = S3, British Medical Research Council grading system) was gained in all patients. Improvements in strength and sensation were accompanied by little synchronous motion and sensibility changes in the donor limb in 7 children, to whom the repaired nerves were those innervating the shoulder and/or elbow or both the musculocutaneous and median nerves. In addition to slight damage to the sensory function of the median nerve, 2 infants also had temporarily reduced shoulder abduction on the healthy side.

CONCLUSIONS: For contralateral C7 transfer in infants and children with brachial plexus root avulsions, the deficit created by the procedure is minimal and motor and sensory function is gained. Transfer of the contralateral C7 root to different nerves for a child may improve the quality of functional recovery.


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