End-to-side radial sensory to median nerve transfer to restore sensation and relieve pain in C5 and C6 nerve root avulsion

Somsak Leechavengvongs, Kittipod Ngamlamiat, Kanchai Malungpaishrope, Chairoj Uerpairotkit, Kiat Witoonchart, Somchai Kulkittiya
Journal of Hand Surgery 2011, 36 (2): 209-15

PURPOSE: To report the results of end-to-side nerve transfer of the superficial radial nerve into the median nerve for restoration of sensation and pain relief at the dorsal radial aspect of the hand in C5 and C6 root avulsion.

METHODS: Eight patients with a mean age of 32 years, with paresthesia and pain at the dorsal radial aspect of the hand due to upper brachial plexus injuries, had end-to-side nerve transfer of the superficial radial nerve into the ulnovolar part of the median nerve. Five patients had S0 and 3 patients had S1 sensory evaluation at the dorsal radial aspect of the affected hand. We evaluated patients for pain using a visual analog scale. We assessed sensory recovery with the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test and British Medical Research Score, respectively. The follow-up period ranged from 24 to 36 months (average, 28 mo).

RESULTS: Six patients had S2 and 2 patients had S3. All patients perceived at least one number lower of the Semmes-Weinstein filament in the dorsal radial aspect of the affected hand compared with the preoperative status. The best result was perception of the 3.61 filament in 2 patients. No downgrading of the donor nerve was observed after surgery. All patients had relief of pain 2 weeks after surgery, and the pain decreased dramatically at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: This method is a reliable, effective, and simple procedure. We recommend this sensory nerve transfer as an additional procedure to the combined motor nerve transfers to relieve pain and restore sensation in the dorsal radial aspect of the hand in patients who have C5 and C6 root avulsion.


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