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J Reconstr Microsurg. 2000 Aug;16(6):417-20; discussion 420-2.

Different methods and results in the treatment of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy.

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Department of Orthopedic and Hand Surgery, Fujian Provincial Hospital, China.


Mallet's test was used to evaluate shoulder and elbow functional results following conservative treatment, neurolysis, and nerve transfer and grafting in 31 patients with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy, who had no recovery of biceps contraction by 3 months of age. Twelve of them had been treated conservatively for 3 to 4 years. Nine patients with upper trunk conducting neuromas underwent neurolysis at the age of 4 to 6 months. Nerve transfer and grafting were performed in 10 patients at the age of 3 to 6 months. Upper trunk conducting neuromas were found in six of them. The follow-up period was, on average, 44.3 and 51.5 months in the nerve transfer and grafting group and in the neurolysis group, respectively. Excellent and good results in shoulder abduction, external rotation, and elbow flexion were found in 70 percent of patients in the nerve transfer and grafting group. However, none of the conservative treatment and neurolysis groups had a good result. The authors conclude that when there is no recovery of biceps contraction by 3 months of age, surgical intervention is indicated. Neuroma should be managed by nerve transfer and grafting, even though intraoperative electrophysiologic studies show that the neuroma is a conducting one.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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