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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 Aug;91(8):1086-9. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.91B8.22125.

Biceps muscle trauma at birth with pseudotumour formation: a cause of poor elbow flexion and supination in birth lesions of the brachial plexus.

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Peripheral Nerve Injuries Unit Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Brockley Hill, Stanmore HA74LP, UK.


We retrospectively studied the possibility that direct trauma to the biceps muscle might be the cause of poor elbow flexion and supination in 18 consecutive children with birth lesions of the brachial plexus who had delayed or impaired biceps recovery despite neurophysiological evidence of reinnervation. All had good shoulder and hand function at three months of age. Eight recovered a strong biceps after six months, but nine required a pectoralis minor to biceps transfer to augment elbow flexion and supination. One had a delayed but good recovery of the biceps after microsurgical reconstruction of the plexus. All had a clinical 'pseudotumour' in the biceps muscle, which was biopsied during pectoralis minor transfer in two patients and showed rupture and degeneration of muscle fibres with a fibro-fatty infiltrate, suggesting previous muscle trauma. Direct muscle trauma is an uncommon but important cause of delayed or impaired biceps recovery after brachial plexus birth injuries. Surgery to reinnervate the biceps muscle will not work if substantial muscle damage is present when a suitable muscle transfer should be considered.

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