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Neurosurgery. 2008 Mar;62(3):656-63; discussion 656-63. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000317314.54450.79.

Results of end-to-side nerve coaptation in severe obstetric brachial plexus lesions.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. w.pondaag@lumc.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Options for nerve repair are limited in brachial plexus lesions with multiple root avulsions because an insufficient number of proximal nerve stumps are available to serve as lead-out for nerve grafts. End-to-side nerve repair might be an alternative surgical technique for repair of such severe lesions. In this technique, an epineurial window is created in a healthy nerve, and the distal stump of the injured nerve is coapted to this site. Inconsistent results of end-to-side nerve repairs in traumatic nerve lesions in adults have been reported in small series. This article evaluates the results of end-to-side nerve repair in obstetric brachial plexus lesions and reviews the literature.

METHODS:

A retrospective analysis was performed of 20 end-to-side repairs in 12 infants. Evaluation of functional recovery of the target muscle was performed after at least 2 years of follow up (mean, 33 mo).

RESULTS:

Five repairs failed (25%). Seven times (35%) good function (Medical Research Council at least 3) of the target muscle occurred in addition to eight partial recoveries (40%). In the majority of patients, however, the observed recovery cannot be exclusively attributed to the end-to-side repair. The reinnervation may be based on axonal outgrowth through grafted or neurolyzed adjacent nerves. It seems likely that recovery was solely based on the end-to-side repair in only two patients. No deficits occurred in donor nerve function.

CONCLUSION:

This study does not convincingly show that the end-to-side nerve repair in infants with an obstetric brachial plexus lesion is effective. Its use cannot be recommended as standard therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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