: There are few reports on outcome following flexor tendon repair of the hand in zone 5. We hypothesized that early mobilization of the fingers is possible if the suture site of repaired tendon is strong enough. The aim of this study was to assess the results of flexor tendon repair in this zone using modified Kessler method reinforced by peripheral running suture and a post operative early active and passive mobilization of the fingers.
Methodology: This prospective study was carried out between April 2006 and Feb 2010, and 171 digits flexor tendons cut in 42 patients were repaired by modified Kessler technique reinforced by running peripheral suture. Early active mobilization and gentle passive motion of the fingers was allowed in a dorsal wrist splint the day after surgery. Wrist Immobilization was performed for one month. Function of the tendons was assessed by Buck-Gramcko score at nine month follow up.
Results: Mean age of the patients was 25.4 years (range 17-46 y). Twenty nine flexor policis longus, 77 flexor digitorum superficialis and 65 flexor digitorum profundus tendons of digits were repaired. Middle and index fingers were most commonly involved. Median and ulnar nerve repair was done in 17 and 12 cases respectively. Good to excellent results were seen in of 79.34% of FPL and 74.65% of other finger flexors. One case of FPL rupture was seen. Tenolysis of FDS was performed in one case. Recovery in thenar muscle function was good, fair and poor in 5, 2 and 10 cases after median nerve repair, while all 12 patients with ulnar nerve lesion showed some degrees of clawing of 4th and 5th fingers.
: Most patients following flexor tendon repair at zone 5 obtained good results. Early motion of the fingers seems to improve outcome in these patients. Concomitant nerve cut in particular of ulnar nerve were associated with a high rate of poor results.
Flexor Tendon Injury; Hand Function; Kessler Technique; Early Finger Mobilization; Zone 5
To determine the contribution of ulnar digits to overall grip strength.
Fifty individuals (25 men and 25 women; 100 hands) with a mean age of 35.6 years (range 19 to 62 years) were tested. Exclusion criteria included previous history of hand injuries, entrapment neuropathies and systemic diseases.
Ethics approval was granted before testing. A calibrated Jamar dynamometer (Lafayette Instrument Company, USA) was used to test subjects in three configurations: entire hand – index, middle, ring and little fingers; index, middle and ring fingers; and index and middle fingers. Little and ring fingers were excluded using generic hand-based finger splints. The order of testing was kept constant, and subjects were tested three times on each hand for each configuration. The average of the three trials at each configuration was recorded. Subjects received 1 min of rest between each testing configuration. The data were analyzed using a 3×2 repeated measures ANOVA with hand dominance and configuration as the within-subject factors, followed by two independent sample t tests to compare flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) independence and FDS nonindependence on right and left hand grip strength measurements in the index, middle, ring and little condition.
Univariate results demonstrated that grip strength was significantly predicted by the interaction between hand dominance and configuration, while the parsing of the interaction term demonstrated greater grip strength across all levels of configuration for the dominant and nondominant hand. There were no significant differences between FDS independence and FDS nonindependence for either hand on grip strength.
The results indicate a significant decrease in grip strength as ulnar fingers were excluded. Furthermore, exclusion of the little finger has differing effects on the grip strength of the dominant and nondominant hands – the dominant hand had a greater loss of strength with the little finger excluded than the nondominant hand.
The ulnar two digits play a significant role in overall grip strength of the entire hand. In the present study, exclusion of the ulnar two digits resulted in a 34% to 67% decrease in grip strength, with a mean decrease of 55%. Exclusion of the little finger from a functional grip pattern decreased the overall grip strength by 33%. Exclusion of the ring finger from a functional grip pattern decreased the overall grip strength by 21%. It is clear that limitation of one or both of the ulnar digits adversely affects the strength of the hand. In addition, there was no significant difference between grip strength of FDS-independent and FDS-nonindependent subjects for either hand.
Grip strength; Testing; Ulnar digits
Objective: Giant cell tumor of tendon sheath is a rare cause of ulnar tunnel syndrome. We present a case of a 37-year-old woman who presented with decreased sensation and weakness of grip of the right hand. Magnetic resonance imaging indicated the presence of a mass in the hypothenar eminence and showed that the mass was associated with the flexor carpi ulnaris tendon and displacing the ulnar neurovascular bundle. A differential diagnosis included desmoid tumor and sarcoma. Methods: Surgical examination showed a mass that was associated with the flexor carpi ulnaris tendon and flexor retinaculum located in the distal portion of Guyon's canal and intertwined with the ulnar nerve and displacing the ulnar artery. The mass was removed and Guyon's canal was released. Results: Histological examination indicated a diagnosis of giant cell tumor of tendon sheath (GCTTS). Postoperatively, the patient had fully restored sensory and motor function of the right hand. Conclusions: Although GCTTS is the most common solid, soft-tissue lesion of the hand, it is rarely diagnosed properly preoperatively. Therefore, it is imperative to always include GCTTS in the differential diagnosis of any mass of the hand.
In recent years, distal nerve transfers have become a valid tool for nerve reconstruction. Though grafts remain the gold standard for proximal median nerve injuries, a new distal transfer of flexor carpi ulnaris branches of the ulnar nerve to selectively restore anterior interosseous nerve function, concomitant with median nerve graft repair, could enhance outcomes. The objective of this paper is to anatomically analyze a technique to selectively reinnervate the thumb and index flexors.
Both the median and ulnar nerves were dissected in 10 cadavers. First and second branches to the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) were measured for length at its emergence from the ulnar nerve, and for width. The emergence of the AIN, just proximal to the arch of the flexor digitorum superficialis, was dissected, and the distance measured from this point to its motor entry at the long flexor pollicis and its branch to the long index flexor. A tensionless repair was performed between one FCU branch and the AIN.
The mean AIN length was 32.3±8.20 mm and width 2.4±0.49 mm. The first branch from the ulnar nerve to the FCU measured 20.8±2.04 mm and 1.52±0.44 mm, while the second, more distal branch measured 24.3±6.71 and 1.9±0.17 mm, respectively. In all dissections, it was possible to contact both the proximal and distal branches of the ulnar nerve to the FCU with the distal stump of the divided AIN, with no tension or need for interposed nerve grafts.
Though proximal reconstruction remains the gold standard, new distal nerve transfer techniques may improve outcomes.
Axon donor; distal nerve transfer; flexor carpi ulnaris; median nerve injury; nerve reconstruction
Ulnar nerve is a branch of the brachial plexus. In the front of the forearm, normally near the wrist joint, it gives a dorsal cutaneous branch which supplies the skin of the dorsum of the hand.
The present case reports a very rare finding, the dorsal branch of the ulnar nerve along with the main nerve trunk originated between the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle, after descending along the medial border of the forearm extensor surface, on the dorsal aspect of the wrist it is divided into three branches, one medial and two lateral. The medial most division received a communicating branch from the superficial ramus of the ulnar nerve and continued as the medial proper digital nerve of the little finger. The lateral two divisions became cutaneous on the medial half of the dorsum of the hand along the medial three digits i.e. radial and ulnar side of little, ring and middle finger.
The site, extent of injury, variations and the delay in the treatment, significantly influences the outcome of ulnar nerve repair. Thus, an adequate knowledge of all possible variations in the ulnar nerve may be important for clinicians and may help to explain uncommon symptoms.
During the evolution of the senior author's technique of ulnar nerve transposition to in situ decompression for ulnar neuropathy at the elbow, nerve conduction studies (NCS) including the Kimura inching method were performed preoperatively in an effort to ensure that all potential sites of compression were investigated intraoperatively. The purpose of this study is to compare the results of the Kimura inching technique with the intraoperative findings noted during decompression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow.
The medical records of consecutive patients who underwent in situ decompression of their ulnar nerves combined with endoscopic examination between March and December of 2009 were retrospectively reviewed. The site of ulnar nerve compression noted using the Kimura inching technique was compared with the intraoperative findings.
Twelve consecutive patients (four with bilateral symptoms) underwent endoscopic ulnar nerve compression in the study period for a total of 16 cases analyzed. In 12 cases, the Kimura method localized the site of compression to Osborne's bands and/or the aponeurosis of the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU). Intraoperatively, compression was noted at Osborne's bands, the FCU aponeurosis, and/or the FCU) muscle proper in all 16 patients. There was partial or full correlation between the nerve conduction data and intraoperative findings in 13/16 cases.
There was good but not perfect agreement between the NCS and intraoperative findings, perhaps because transcutaneous NCS are less accurate when a nerve is surrounded by muscle. The information obtained in this study is valuable when planning surgery to address ulnar nerve compression.
Kimura inching technique; Cubital tunnel syndrome; Ulnar neuropathy; Endoscopic in situ decompression
Ulnar nerve blockade as a component of wrist block is a promising technique for adequate anesthesia and analgesia for different surgeries of the hand. Due to anatomical variations in the location of ulnar nerve under the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) a technique with good results and minimal complications are required.
The aim of the following study is to compare the three techniques (volar, transtendinous volar [TTV] and ulnar) for ulnar nerve block at the wrist in human cadaveric wrists.
Materials and Methods:
Our study was conducted using 40 cadaver wrists. After inserting standard hypodermic needles by three techniques for ulnar nerve blockade at the wrist, a detailed dissection of FCU was done. The mean distance from the tip of the needle to ulnar artery/nerve and number of instances in which the ulnar artery/nerve pierced were observed.
Inter-group statistical significance was observed in measurement of the mean distance (mm) from the tip of the needle to the ulnar artery (volar [0.92 ± 0.11], TTV [3.96 ± 0.14] and ulnar [7.14 ± 0.08] approaches) and ulnar nerve (volar/TTV/ulnar approaches were 0.71 ± 0.12/3.61 ± 0.10/6.31 ± 0.49, respectively) (P = 0.001). Inadvertent intra-arterial/intraneural injections was seen with volar approach in 14 (35%) and 16 (40%) of the cadaveric wrists respectively, statistically significant with transtendinous and ulnar techniques of ulnar nerve block.
TTV approach could be a better technique of choice for ulnar nerve blockade at the wrist because of its ease to practice, safer profile and minimum chances of inadvertent intra-arterial/intraneural injection with adequate anesthesia/analgesia.
Ulnar nerve; ulnar nerve block; wrist block
Active pronation is important for many activities of daily living. Loss of median nerve function including pronation is a rare sequela of humerus fracture. Tendon transfers to restore pronation are reserved for the obstetrical brachial plexus palsy patient. Transfer of expendable motor nerves is a treatment modality that can be used to restore active pronation. Nerve transfers are advantageous in that they do not require prolonged immobilization postoperatively, avoid operating within the zone of injury, reinnervate muscles in their native location prior to degeneration of the motor end plates, and result in minimal donor deficit. We report a case of lost median nerve function after a humerus fracture. Pronation was restored with transfer of the extensor carpi radialis brevis branch of the radial nerve to the pronator teres branch of the median nerve. Anterior interosseous nerve function was restored with transfer of the supinator branch to the anterior interosseous nerve. Clinically evident motor function was seen at 4 months postoperatively and continued to improve for the following 18 months. The patient has 4+/5 pronator teres, 4+/5 flexor pollicis longus, and 4−/5 index finger flexor digitorum profundus function. The transfer of the extensor carpi radialis brevis branch of the radial nerve to the pronator teres and supinator branch of the radial nerve to the anterior interosseous nerve is a novel, previously unreported method to restore extrinsic median nerve function.
Nerve transfers; Pronation; Nerve injury; Median nerve
The purpose of this study was to report the operative findings in patients who underwent a secondary operation for cubital tunnel syndrome. A chart review was performed of 100 patients who had undergone a secondary operation for cubital tunnel syndrome by one surgeon. The mean age was 48 years (standard deviation 13.5 years). The most common complaint after primary surgery was increased symptoms in the ulnar nerve distribution (n = 55) and pain in the medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve distribution (n = 55). The most common operative findings included a medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve neuroma (n = 73) and a distal kink of the ulnar nerve (n = 57). This kink was noted as the nerve moved from its transposed position anterior to the medical epicondyle to its native position within the flexor carpi ulnaris. This study suggests that during primary surgery for cubital tunnel syndrome care should be given to avoid injury to the medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve, distal kinking of the ulnar nerve with transposition and pressure on the transposed nerve by the fascial flaps or tendinous bands.
Cubital tunnel syndrome; Surgery; Reoperation
The anterior interosseous nerve (AIN) is a only motor nerve innervating the deep muscles of the forearm. Its compression is rare. We present a retrospective analysis of 14 patients with an AIN syndrome with a variety of clinical manifestations who underwent operative and conservative treatment.
Patients and methods
Fourteen patients (six female, eight male, mean age 48 ± 9 years) were included. In six patients, the right limb was affected, and in eight patients the left limb. Conservative treatment was started for every patient. If no signs of recovery appeared within 3 months, operative exploration was performed. Final assessment was performed between 2 and 9 years after the onset of paralysis (mean duration of follow-up 46 ± 11 months). Patients were examined clinically for return of power, range of motion, pinch and grip strengths. Also the disability of the arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) score was calculated.
Seven of our 14 patients had incomplete AIN palsy with isolated total loss of function of flexor pollicis longus (FPL), five of FPL and flexor digitorum profundus (FDP)1 simultaneously, and two of FDP1. Weakness of FDP2 could be seen in four patients. Pronator teres was paralysed in two patients. Pain in the forearm was present in nine patients. Four patients had predisposing factors. Eight patients treated conservatively exhibited spontaneous recovery from their paralysis during 3–12 months after the onset. In six patients, the AIN was explored 12 weeks after the initial symptoms and released from compressing structures. Thirteen patients showed good limb function. In one patient with poor result a tendon transfer was necessary. The DASH score of patients treated conservatively and operatively presented no significant difference.
AIN syndrome can have different clinical manifestations. If no signs of spontaneous recovery appear within 12 weeks, operative treatment should be performed.
Anterior interosseous nerve syndrome; Upper extremity; Decompression; Conservative treatment
The aim of this study is to endoscopically evaluate the ulnar nerve proximal and distal to the cubital tunnel after in situ decompression to identify and eventually release fascial bands capable of compressing the ulnar nerve.
We performed a retrospective review of 16 ulnar nerve compression cases in 12 patients. Eight men and four women with a mean age of 52 years (range, 23–77 years) were clinically diagnosed and confirmed with neurophysiologic studies. A 4–6-cm curvilinear incision was made at the medial elbow, and the ulnar nerve was identified and decompressed at the cubital tunnel. Then, a 2.7-mm endoscope was passed 8 to 10 cm proximal and distal to the medial epicondyle allowing for visualization of the ulnar nerve and its surrounding soft tissues.
The endoscopic evaluation of the 16 ulnar nerves demonstrated no compressive bands outside of the cubital tunnel. All patients had satisfactory outcomes.
The good results reported after in situ ulnar nerve decompression have questioned the need for endoscopically assisted decompression of the ulnar nerve proximal and distal to the cubital tunnel. Some authors suggest the existence of fascial bands within the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) capable of compressing the ulnar nerve. This study would suggest that fibrous bands deep in the FCU capable of compressing the ulnar nerve do not exist. Our satisfactory outcomes would support the perception that extensive decompression of the ulnar nerve beyond the cubital tunnel is not routinely needed.
Ulnar nerve; Cubital tunnel; Endoscopic
Variations in the major arteries of the upper limb are estimated to be present in up to one fifth of people, and may have significant clinical implications.
During routine cadaveric dissection of a 69-year-old fresh female cadaver, a superficial brachioulnar artery with an aberrant path was found bilaterally. The superficial brachioulnar artery originated at midarm level from the brachial artery, pierced the brachial fascia immediately proximal to the elbow, crossed superficial to the muscles that originated from the medial epicondyle, and ran over the pronator teres muscle in a doubling of the antebrachial fascia. It then dipped into the forearm fascia, in the gap between the flexor carpi radialis and the palmaris longus. Subsequently, it ran deep to the palmaris longus muscle belly, and superficially to the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle, reaching the gap between the latter and the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle, where it assumed is usual position lateral to the ulnar nerve.
As far as the authors could determine, this variant of the superficial brachioulnar artery has only been described twice before in the literature. The existence of such a variant is of particular clinical significance, as these arteries are more susceptible to trauma, and can be easily confused with superficial veins during medical and surgical procedures, potentially leading to iatrogenic distal limb ischemia.
Blood supply; Anatomy; Surgery; Arteries; Arm; Forearm; Cadaver; Dissection
Tendon transfer for radial nerve paralysis has a 100 years history and any set of tendons that can be considered to be useful has been utilized for the purpose. The pronator tress is used for restoration of wrist dorsiflexion, while the flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpiulnaris, and flexor digitorum superficialis are variably used in each for fingers and thumb movements. The present study was a retrospective analysis, designed to compare three methods of tendon transfer for radial nerve palsy.
Materials and Methods:
41 patients with irreversible radial nerve paralysis, who had underwent three different types of tendon transfers (using different tendons for transfer) between March 2005 and September 2009, included in the study. The pronator teres was transferred for wrist extention. Flexor carpi ulnaris (group 1, n=18), flexor carpi radialis (group 2, n=10) and flexor digitorum superficialis (group 3, n=13) was used to achieve finger extention. Palmaris longus was used to achieve thumb extention and abduction. At the final examination, related ranges of motions were recorded and the patients were asked about their overall satisfaction with the operation, their ability, and time of return to their previous jobs, and in addition, disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) Score was measured and recorded for each patient.
The difference between the groups with regard to DASH score, ability, and time of return to job, satisfaction with the operation, and range of motions was not statistically significant (P>0.05). All of the patients had experienced functional improvement and overall satisfaction rate was 95%. No complication directly attributable to the operation was noted, except for proximal interphalangeal joint flexion contracture in three patents.
The tendon transfer for irreversible radial nerve palsy is very successful and probably the success is not related to type of tendon used for transfer.
DASH score; radial nerve palsy; tendon transfer
Ulnar nerve neuropathy is one of the most common peripheral nerve dysfunctions. Elbow is the most common area affected by ulnar nerve which is mainly because of fractures or dislocations of this area. Delayed ulnar nerve palsy (Tardy Ulnar Nerve Palsy) in children due to a malpositioning of upper extremity during hospitalization is an uncommon cause of ulnar nerve injury which we have already reported it.
An eight-year-old conscious patient who had weakness, paresthesia and tingling in the right 4th and 5th fingers, as well as right claw hand deformity was evaluated, he had attended once before in 4 months ago due to head trauma in coma state. The child had no clinical and radiological indications of arm or elbow fractures causing nerve compression or entrapment. Elbow malposition had caused ulnar nerve neuropathy during hospitalization. Surgery was attempted, ulnar nerve decompression and anterior transposition done.
After three weeks post operatively, active physical therapy was started on the right upper extremity and the hand returned to normal activity after 6 months.
In patients with decreased level of consciousness or coma state who need prolonged hospitalization, the limbs must remain in correct position to prevent superficial nerve injuries and neuropathies. Furthermore, careful and scrutinized attention to the traumatic patients and doing on time and targeted imaging, regular follow up of patients, complete and perfect neurological examinations can prevent peripheral nerve injuries or develop on-time treatments which improve the patients' quality of life.
Ulnar nerve, Elbow malposition, Ulnar nerve decompression
The detailed outcome of surgical repair of high isolated clean sharp (HICS) ulnar nerve lesions has become relevant in view of the recent development of distal nerve transfer. Our goal was to determine the outcome of HICS ulnar nerve repair in order to create a basis for the optimal management of these lesions.
High ulnar nerve lesions are defined as localized in the area ranging from the proximal forearm to the axilla just distal to the branching of the medial cord of the brachial plexus. A meta-analysis of the literature concerning high ulnar nerve injuries was performed. Additionally, a retrospective study of the outcome of nerve repair of HICS ulnar nerve injuries at our institution was performed. The Rotterdam Intrinsic Hand Myometer and the Rosén-Lundborg protocol were used.
The literature review identified 46 papers. Many articles presented outcomes of mixed lesion groups consisting of combined ulnar and median nerves, or the outcome of high and low level injuries was pooled. In addition, outcome was expressed using different scoring systems. 40 patients with HICS ulnar nerve lesions were found with sufficient data for further analysis. In our institution, 15 patients had nerve repair with a median interval between trauma and reconstruction of 17 days (range 0–516). The mean score of the motor and sensory domain of the Rosen's Scale instrument was 58% and 38% of the unaffected arm, respectively. Two-point discrimination never reached less then 12 mm.
From the literature, it was not possible to draw a definitive conclusion on outcome of surgical repair of HICS ulnar nerve lesions. Detailed neurological function assessment of our own patients showed that some ulnar nerve function returned. Intrinsic muscle strength recovery was generally poor. Based on this study, one might cautiously argue that repair strategies of HICS ulnar nerve lesions need to be improved.
Tardy ulnar nerve palsy is a common late complication of traumatic cubitus valgus deformity. Whether both problems can be corrected together, safely and effectively, in a single surgical procedure remains unknown.
We therefore reviewed a patient cohort having this combined surgery and compared preoperatively and at a minimum of 24 months postoperatively (1) active elbow ROM; (2) radiographic correction of the cubitus valgus deformity of the preoperative and postoperative humerus-elbow-wrist angles and the medial prominence index; (3) ulnar nerve function through grip strength and static two-point discrimination; and (4) overall upper limb disability by the DASH score.
Between 2004 and 2009, 13 patients who had traumatic cubitus valgus deformities and tardy ulnar nerve palsy (Dellon’s Grade III) were treated with simultaneous supracondylar dome osteotomy and anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve and were reviewed retrospectively. The minimum followup was 24 months (mean, 33 months; range, 24–52 months).
The mean preoperative ROM was 16° to 124° and mean postoperative ROM was 10° to 126°. All osteotomies healed uneventfully. The mean postoperative humerus-elbow-wrist angle was 11° and the average correction was 24°. None of the patients had recurrence of the deformity or residual prominence of the medial condyle at the last followup. The mean grip strength and static two-point discrimination improved from 20 kg of force and 6.9 mm to 27 kg of force and 4.0 mm (p = 0.002 and p = 0.004, respectively). Subjective ulnar nerve symptoms improved in all but one patient. The mean DASH score improved from 29 points to 16 points (p = 0.001).
A combined supracondylar dome osteotomy and anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve is effective in correcting posttraumatic cubitus valgus deformity and its associated ulnar nerve palsy.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
During blocks of the ulnar nerve induced by inflating a sphygmomanometer cuff round the arm, the strengths of the movements of ulnar deviation of the individual fingers and adduction of the thumb were measured by means of a pressure transducer. No statistically significant differences were found between the times at which failure of these movements occurred, and there was no evidence of the occurrence of a centripetal motor paralysis within the territory of the ulnar nerve in the hand. However, the flexor carpi ulnaris did not become paralysed until significantly later than the small muscles of the hand. The results do not support the idea that long motor fibres are more susceptible to asphyxia than short ones, at least when the difference in length is 4 cm or less. Such a theory could certainly explain the relative immunity of the flexor carpi ulnaris, but other explanations for this finding may be available.
The functional outcome of a flexor tendon injury after repair depends on multiple factors. The postoperative management of tendon injuries has paved a sea through many mobilization protocols. The improved understanding of splinting techniques has promoted the understanding and implication of these mobilization protocols. We conducted a study to observe and record the results of early active mobilization of repaired flexor tendons in zones II–V.
Materials and Methods:
25 cases with 75 digits involving 129 flexor tendons including 8 flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendons in zones II–V of thumb were subjected to the early active mobilization protocol. Eighteen (72%) patients were below 30 years of age. Twenty-four cases (96%) sustained injury by sharp instrument either accidentally or by assault. Ring and little finger were involved in 50% instances. In all digits, either a primary repair (n=26) or a delayed primary repair (n=49) was done. The repair was done with the modified Kessler core suture technique with locking epitendinous sutures with a knot inside the repair site, using polypropylene 3-0/4-0 sutures. An end-to-end repair of the cut nerves was done under loupe magnification using a 6-0/8-0 polyamide suture. The rehabilitation program adopted was a modification of Kleinert’s regimen, and Silfverskiold regimen. The final assessment was done at 14 weeks post repair using the Louisville system of Lister et al.
Eighteen of excellent results were attributed to ring and little fingers where there was a flexion lag of < 1 cm and an extension lag of < 15°. FPL showed 75% (n=6) excellent flexion. 63% (n=47) digits showed excellent results whereas good results were seen in 19% (n=14) digits. Nine percent (n=7) digits showed fair and the same number showed poor results. The cases where the median (n=4) or ulnar nerve (n=6) or both (n=3) were involved led to some deformity (clawing/ape thumb) at 6 months postoperatively. The cases with digital or common digital nerve involvement (n=7 with 17 digits) showed five excellent, two good, four fair, and six poor results. Complications included tendon ruptures in 2 (3%) cases (one thumb and one ring finger) and contracture in 2 (3%) cases whereas superficial infection and flap necrosis was seen in 1 case each.
The early active mobilization of cut flexor tendons in zones II–V using the modified mobilization protocol has given good results, with minimal complications.
Early mobilization; repair of flexor tendons; splints
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) of the forearm may occur in sports requiring prolonged grip strength. CECS is a function of increasing pressure following muscle expansion within an inelastic tissue envelope resulting in compromise of perfusion and tissue function. Typical symptoms are pain, distal paraesthesia and loss of function. The condition is self-limiting and resolves completely between periods of activity. With no effective medical treatment, the gold standard remains four compartment open fasciotomy (Söderberg, J Bone Joint Surg Br 78(5):780–2, 1996; Wasilewski and Asdourian, Am J Sports Med 19(6):665–7, 1991). Minimally invasive techniques have been described (Croutzet et al., Tech Hand Up Extrem Surg 13(3):137–40, 2009) but have a risk of neuro-vascular injury, especially to the ulnar nerve while releasing the deep flexor compartment. We present a safe technique used with six elite rowers for mini-open fasciotomy to minimise scarring and time away from training while reducing the risk of neurovascular injury.
Rowing; Muscle injury and inflammation; Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
Blind intramuscular injection might cause severe neurovascular injury if it would be performed with insufficient knowledge of anatomy around the injection area. We report a case of pseudo-anterior interosseous syndrome caused by multiple intramuscular steroid injections around the antecubital area. The patient had weakness of the 1st to 3rd digits flexion with typical OK sign. Muscle atrophy was noted on the proximal medial forearm, and sensation was intact. The electrophysiologic studies showed anterior interosseous nerve compromise, accompanying with injury of the other muscles innervated by the median nerve proximal to anterior interosseous nerve. Magnetic resonance imaging of the left proximal forearm revealed abnormally increased signal intensity of the pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, proximal portion of flexor digitorum superficialis, and flexor digitorum profundus innervated by the median nerve on the T2-weighted images. This case shows the importance of knowledge about anatomic structures in considering intramuscular injection.
Pseudo-anterior interosseous nerve syndrome; Intramuscular injections
The standard opponensplasty for isolated low median nerve palsy in nonleprosy patients uses the flexor digitorum superficialis of the ring finger.
To report the results of extensor indicis proprius (EIP) opponensplasty in 15 consecutive nonleprosy patients with isolated traumatic low median nerve palsy.
A retrospective study of the author’s cases of EIP opponensplasty for isolated traumatic median nerve palsy over the past 15 years was conducted. The author used the EIP to restore thumb opposition in all cases of isolated median nerve palsies when the following conditions were present: protective sensibility in the median nerve distribution; normal power of EIP; supple hands; and full passive range of opposition with no contracture of the first web space. There were a total of 15 patients with a mean age of 30 years (range 20 to 45 years). They all had traumatic isolated low median nerve palsy with recovery of at least protective sensation and no recovery of opposition. The tendon was harvested just proximal to the extensor expansion, the flexor carpi ulnaris was used as a pulley and the insertion was to the tendon of abductor pollicis brevis.
There were no postoperative complications or extension lag of the donor finger. Using previously published criteria, 12 patients experienced excellent results while the remaining three had a good result.
In nonleprosy patients with isolated traumatic low median nerve palsy, the results of this transfer are consistent and there is no need to harvest the EIP tendon distal to the extensor expansion because a single insertion to the abductor pollicis brevis is sufficient.
Opponensplasty; Tendon transfer
The knowledge on the anatomical variations of the deep flexor muscles is important due to its evolutionary significance. The flexor digitorum profundus is the deep flexor muscle of the forearm. It is a composite muscle with a dual nerve supply. The medial half of muscle is supplied by the ulnar nerve, and lateral half of the muscle is supplied by the anterior interosseous nerve, a branch of the median nerve. It flexes the distal phalanges of the medial four digits.
In the present case, we observed the presence of extensive cleavage of belly and tendon of flexor digitorum profundus to form flexor indicis profundus on the right side in an adult male cadaver. Flexor indicis profundus muscle is an example of progressive type of variation and it is usually asymptomatic, but it may cause compression of the anterior interosseous nerve, which can lead to compression neuropathy. If it is enlarged, it may simulate a ganglion.
Flexor digitorum profundus muscle; Flexor indicis profundus muscle; Anterior interosseous; Nerve; Compression Neuropathy; Ganglion
Distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) problems can occur as a result of joint instability, abutment, or incongruity. The DRUJ is a weight-bearing joint; the ulnar head is frequently excised either totally or partially, and in some cases it is fused, because of degenerative, rheumatoid, or posttraumatic arthritis. Articles about these procedures report the ability to pronate and supinate, but they rarely discuss grip strength, and even less do they address lifting capacity. We report the long term results of the first 35 patients who underwent total DRUJ arthroplasty with the Aptis DRUJ prosthesis after 5 years follow-up. Surgical indications were all causes of dysfunctional DRUJ (degenerative, posttraumatic, autoimmune, congenital). We recorded data for patient demographics, range of motion (ROM), strength, and lifting capacity of the operated and of the nonoperated extremity. Pain and functional assessments were also recorded. The Aptis DRUJ prosthesis, a bipolar self-stabilizing DRUJ endoprosthesis that restores forearm function, consists of a semiconstained and modular implant designed to replace the function of the ulnar head, the sigmoid notch of the radius, and the triangular fibrocartilage ligaments. The surgical technique is presented in detail. The majority of the patients regained adequate ROM and improved their strength and lifting capacity to the operated side. Pain and activities of daily living were improved. Twelve patients experienced complications, most commonly being extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendinitis, ectopic bone formation, bone resorption with stem loosening, low-grade infection, and need for ball replacement. The Aptis total DRUJ replacement prosthesis is an alternative to salvage procedures that enables a full range of motion as well as the ability to grip and lift weights encountered in daily living activities.
distal radioulnar joint; wrist prosthesis; wrist arthritis
In this study the authors evaluate the clinical outcomes in patients with radial nerve palsy who underwent nerve transfers utilizing redundant fascicles of median nerve (innervating the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor carpi radialis muscles) to the posterior interosseous nerve and the nerve to the extensor carpi radialis brevis.
A retrospective review of the clinical records of 19 patients with radial nerve injuries who underwent nerve transfer procedures using the median nerve as a donor nerve were included. All patients were evaluated using the Medical Research Council (MRC) grading system.
The mean age of patients was 41 years (range 17 – 78 years). All patients received at least 12 months of follow-up (20.3 ± 5.8 months). Surgery was performed at a mean of 5.7 ± 1.9 months post-injury. Post-operative functional evaluation was graded according to the following scale: grades MRC 0/5 - MRC 2/5 were considered poor outcomes, while MRC of 3/5 was a fair result, MRC grade 4/5 was a good result, and grade 4+/5 was considered an excellent outcome. Seventeen patients (89%) had a complete radial nerve palsy while two patients (11%) had intact wrist extension but no finger or thumb extension. Post-operatively all patients except one had good to excellent recovery of wrist extension. Twelve patients recovered good to excellent finger and thumb extension, two patients had fair recovery, five patients had a poor recovery.
The radial nerve is a commonly injured nerve, causing significant morbidity in affected patients. The median nerve provides a reliable source of donor nerve fascicles for radial nerve reinnervation. This transfer was first performed in 1999 and evolved over the subsequent decade. The important nuances of both surgical technique and motor re-education critical for to the success of this transfer have been identified and are discussed.
Nerve transfer; neurotization; brachial plexus; median nerve; radial nerve
The recovery of hand function is consistently rated as the highest priority for persons with tetraplegia. Recovering even partial arm and hand function can have an enormous impact on independence and quality of life of an individual. Currently, tendon transfers are the accepted modality for improving hand function. In this procedure, the distal end of a functional muscle is cut and reattached at the insertion site of a nonfunctional muscle. The tendon transfer sacrifices the function at a lesser location to provide function at a more important location. Nerve transfers are conceptually similar to tendon transfers and involve cutting and connecting a healthy but less critical nerve to a more important but paralyzed nerve to restore its function.
We present a case of a 28-year-old patient with a C5-level ASIA B (international classification level 1) injury who underwent nerve transfers to restore arm and hand function. Intact peripheral innervation was confirmed in the paralyzed muscle groups corresponding to finger flexors and extensors, wrist flexors and extensors, and triceps bilaterally. Volitional control and good strength were present in the biceps and brachialis muscles, the deltoid, and the trapezius. The patient underwent nerve transfers to restore finger flexion and extension, wrist flexion and extension, and elbow extension. Intraoperative motor-evoked potentials and direct nerve stimulation were used to identify donor and recipient nerve branches.
The patient tolerated the procedure well, with a preserved function in both elbow flexion and shoulder abduction.
Nerve transfers are a technically feasible means of restoring the upper extremity function in tetraplegia in cases that may not be amenable to tendon transfers.
Nerve transfer; reconstructive neurosurgery; surgical rehabilitation; tetraplegia