An All-Anterior Approach for Quadruple Nerve Transfer for Upper Trunk Brachial Plexus Injuries

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Background: The most commonly performed nerve transfers in upper trunk (UT) or partial brachial plexus injuries (BPIs) include the spinal accessory nerve to suprascapular nerve, Oberlin, and, lately, radial nerve (RN) (branch to triceps) to axillary nerve (AN) transfers. Routinely, the former 3 procedures are performed through an anterior approach (supraclavicular plus infraclavicular), while the triceps branch of the RN-AN transfer has been performed through a posterior approach with the patient in either the prone or semilateral position, which requires a separate incision in the posterior arm. The aim of the present study was to report the outcomes for 4 cases of quadruple nerve transfers performed for UT BPI using an all-anterior approach. Methods: The functional outcomes of 4 consecutive cases of UT BPI treated using an all-anterior approach were analyzed in terms of improvement in motor power and range of motion at the shoulder and elbow joints. Results: The mean age was 27.5 years (range, 16–40). All had sustained injuries from road traffic accidents. The mean injury to surgery interval was 4.5 months (range, 3–6). Of the 4 patients, 2 each had pre- and postganglionic injuries. All 4 patients had 0 of M0 power in shoulder abduction and external rotation, and elbow flexion. At a mean follow-up of 28.6 months, the average shoulder abduction was 157°, with an average of 82° of external rotation. The mean elbow flexion was 104°. Conclusions: This technique appears to be feasible, with good-to-excellent outcomes achieved without requiring a separate posterior arm incision for the RN-AN transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e651-e659
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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