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Nerve Transfer Surgery to Restore Function in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury: Elbow Function

This video shows the recovery of elbow extension (ie, triceps) function after nerve transfer surgery in patients with cervical spinal cord injury, also known as tetraplegia. Nerve transfer surgery after spinal cord injury involves using noninjured donor nerves above the spinal cord injury segment to restore paralyzed distal function below the spinal cord injury segment. This video shows 2 patients who had no upper limb function before surgery. In the first patient, the nerve supplying the posterior deltoid muscle was used as the donor nerve and transferred to the nerve supplying the triceps muscle. In the second patient, the nerve supplying the trapezius muscle was used as the donor nerve and transferred to the nerve supplying the triceps muscle. After nerve transfer surgery, both patients gained full functional strength in the triceps muscles. The restored function can be used to increase the reach of the objects and help with patient mobility and transfers independently. Click the Related Article link for full details.

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