Background: Functional free gracilis muscle transfer is an operative procedure for elbow reconstruction in patients with complete brachial plexus nerve and avulsion injuries and in delayed or prolonged nerve denervation, as well as in patients with inadequate upper extremity function after primary nerve reconstruction. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our patient records and identified 24 patients with complete brachial plexus nerve injury (13 obstetric, 11 males and 2 females; 11 traumatic, 9 males and 2 females) whose affected arm and shoulder were totally paralyzed and their voluntary elbow flexion or the biceps function was poor preoperatively (mean M0-1/5 in MRC grade). These patients had undergone the functional free gracilis muscle transfer procedure at our clinic since 2005. Results: Ninety-two percent of all patients showed recovery and improvement. Successful free gracilis muscle transfer is defined as antigravity biceps muscle strength of M3-4/5 and higher, which was observed in 16 (8 obstetric and 8 traumatic) of our 24 patients (67%) in this study at least 1 year after functional free gracilis muscle transfer. This is statistically significant (P < .000001) in comparison with their mean preoperative score (M0-1/5). There was no improvement in motor level of the biceps muscle (M0/5) in 2 patients (1 from each group). The donor site of these 24 patients showed no deficit in motor and sensory functions. Conclusions: Taken together, a significant number (92%) of patients in both obstetric and traumatic brachial plexus injury groups had recovery and improvement and most of these patients (64%) achieved antigravity and elbow flexion at least 1 year after free gracilis muscle transfer at our clinic.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - 2017|
- Journal Article