Tendon transfer for radial nerve palsy: a single tendon to restore finger extension as well as thumb extension/radial abduction

M M Al-Qattan
Journal of Hand Surgery, European Volume 2012, 37 (9): 855-62
Since 1994, the author has been treating irreparable radial nerve palsy with pronator teres to the extensor carpi radialis brevis (for wrist extension) and a single tendon (flexor carpi radialis or ulnaris) transfer to restore finger extension as well as thumb extension/radial abduction. We sought to investigate whether these patients are able to flex the fingers with the thumb in abduction/extension posture. This was a prospective study over a 5-year period, and the results of this transfer in 15 consecutive patients (mean age 28 years) were analyzed. At final follow-up (mean 30 months), all patients had reasonable wrist movement, finger extension, and thumb extension/radial abduction. The overall results were rated excellent in 12 patients and good in the remaining three patients according to the Bincaz scale. More interesting was the ability of all patients to flex their fingers with only mild relaxation of the extended/abducted thumb.

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