JOURNAL ARTICLE

Contralateral C7 nerve root transfer to neurotize the upper trunk via a modified prespinal route in repair of brachial plexus avulsion injury

Shufeng Wang, Hon-Wan Yiu, Pengcheng Li, Yucheng Li, Haihua Wang, Yongwei Pan
Microsurgery 2012, 32 (3): 183-8
22002908

PURPOSE: In this report, we present our experience on the repair of brachial plexus root avulsion injuries with the use of contralateral C7 nerve root transfers with nerve grafting through a modified prespinal route.

METHODS: The outcomes of the contralateral C7 nerve root transfer to neurotize the upper trunk and C5/C6 nerve roots of the total or near total brachial plexus nerve root avulsion injury in a series of 41 patients were evaluated. The contralateral C7 nerve root that was dissected to the distal end of the divisions, along with the sural nerve graft, were placed underneath the anterior scalene and longus colli muscles, and then passed through the retro-esophageal space to neurotize the recipient nerve. The mean length of the dissected contralateral C7 nerve root was 6.5 ± 0.7 cm, and the mean length of sural nerve graft was 6.8 ± 1.9 cm. The suprascapular nerve was neurotized additionally by the phrenic nerve or the terminal motor branch of accessory nerve in some patients.

RESULTS: The mean length of the follow-up was 47.2 ± 14.5 months. The muscle strength was graded M4 or M3 for the biceps muscle in 85.4% of patients, for the deltoid muscle in 82.9% of patients, and for the upper parts of pectoral major in 92.7% of patients. The functional recovery of shoulder abduction in the patients with the additional suprascapular nerve neurotization was remarkably improved.

CONCLUSIONS: The modified prespinal route could significantly reduced the length of nerve graft in the contralateral C7 nerve root transfer to the injured upper trunk in brachial plexus root avulsion injury, and it may improve the functional outcomes, which deserves further investigations.

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