Transfer of a fascicle from the posterior cord to the suprascapular nerve after injury of the upper roots of the brachial plexus: technical case report

Roberto Sergio Martins, Mario Gilberto Siqueira, Carlos Otto Heise, Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira
Neurosurgery 2009, 65 (4): E823-5; discussion E825

OBJECTIVE: A new nerve transfer technique using a healthy fascicle of the posterior cord for suprascapular nerve reconstruction is presented. This technique was used in a patient with posttraumatic brachial plexopathy resulting in upper trunk injury with proximal root stumps that were unavailable for grafting associated with multiple nerve dysfunction.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 45-year-old man sustained a right brachial plexus injury after a bicycle accident. Clinical evaluation and electromyography indicated upper trunk involvement. Trapezius muscle function and triceps strength were normal on physical examination.

INTERVENTION: The patient underwent a combined supra- and infraclavicular approach to the brachial plexus. A neuroma-in-continuity of the upper trunk and fibrotic C5 and C6 roots were identified. Electrical stimulation of the phrenic and spinal accessory nerves produced no response. The suprascapular nerve was dissected from the upper trunk, transected, and rerouted to the infraclavicular fossa. A healthy fascicle of the posterior cord to the triceps muscle was transferred to the suprascapular nerve. At the time of the 1-year follow-up evaluation, arm abduction against gravity and external rotation reached 40 and 34 degrees, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The posterior cord can be used as a source of donor fascicle to the suprascapular nerve after its infraclavicular relocation. This new intraplexal nerve transfer could be applied in patients with isolated injury of the upper trunk and concomitant lesion of the extraplexal nerve donors usually used for reinnervation of the suprascapular nerve.

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