Phrenic nerve transfer for elbow flexion and intercostal nerve transfer for elbow extension

Mou-Xiong Zheng, Wen-Dong Xu, Yan-Qun Qiu, Jian-Guang Xu, Yu-Dong Gu
Journal of Hand Surgery 2010, 35 (8): 1304-9

PURPOSE: To explore long-term recovery of elbow flexion and extension after transferring the phrenic nerve and intercostal nerves, respectively, in adults with global brachial plexus avulsion injuries.

METHODS: Seven adults with global brachial plexus avulsion injuries had the phrenic nerve transferred to the musculocutaneous nerve (or to the anterior division of upper trunk) and intercostal nerves transferred to the triceps branch of the radial nerve at our hospital 7 to 12 years ago. The results of elbow motor strength testing using the Medical Research Council grading scale, and electrodiagnostic findings using electromyogram examinations, were studied retrospectively. Pulmonary function tests were also performed at final visits.

RESULTS: Functional elbow flexion was obtained in most of the 7 cases (M2, 1; M3, 3; M4, 2; and M5, 1) but elbow extension was absent or insufficient in all subjects (M0, 1; M1, 3; and M2, 3). Electrical results showed successful biceps reinnervation in 6 patients and successful triceps reinnervation in 5. No patient experienced breathing problems, and pulmonary function results were within normal range.

CONCLUSIONS: In the long term, after brachial plexus avulsion injury in most patients who underwent both phrenic nerve and intercostal nerve transfer to achieve elbow flexion and extension eventually obtained satisfactory elbow flexion but poor elbow extension. We recommend against transferring the intercostal nerves to the triceps branch of radial nerve in conjunction with primary phrenic to musculocutaneous nerve transfer.


Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"