Content » Vol 46, Issue 1

Original report

Upper extremity reconstruction in non-traumatic spinal cord injuries: An under-recognized opportunity

Jan Fridén, Carina Reinholdt, Johanna Wangdell, Andreas Gohritz
Department of Hand Surgery, Institute of Clinical Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, 413 45 Göteborg, Sweden. E-mail: jan.friden@orthop.gu.se
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1235

Abstract

Objective: This study reviews the usefulness of surgical improvement of arm and hand function in patients with non-traumatic spinal cord injury who differ significantly from individuals with post-traumatic tetraplegia with respect to age, injury pattern, gender and socio-economic factors.
Design: Case series. Tests were conducted preoperatively and 12 months postoperatively.
Patients: The results of 14 upper extremity reconstructions in 11 patients (7 women, 4 men) with spinal cord injury, mean age at injury 49 years (standard deviation (SD) 12), were reviewed.
Methods: Key pinch strength, grip strength and first web space opening were recorded pre- and post-operatively in all patients, 5 patients (7 hands) were evaluated prospectively regarding manual dexterity.
Results: All parameters were significantly improved. Strength of key pinch increased from 0.3 kg in 1 case and zero in 10 cases to a mean of 1.6 kg (SD 0.9). Mean grip strength increased from 0 to 3.2 kg (SD 4.5). Maximal distance between thumb and index increased from 2.1 cm (SD 4.1) to 6.4 cm (SD 4.4). Manual dexterity increased.
Conclusion: Individuals with stable non-traumatic tetraplegia benefit from surgical rehabilitation of their upper extremities. The number of non-traumatic spinal cord injuries is likely to increase as lifespan increases worldwide, and further research into the functional rehabilitation of this population will therefore become increasingly relevant.

Lay Abstract

Comments

Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.
Advertisement