Vol 51, No 5 (2017)

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The components of shoulder and elbow movements as goals of primary reconstructive operation in obstetric brachial plexus lesions

Jerzy Luszawski1, Wiesław Marcol2, Marek Mandera3
DOI: 10.1016/j.pjnns.2017.06.005
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2017;51(5):366-371.


Most of the cases of obstetric brachial plexus lesions (OBPL) show satisfactory improvement with conservative management, but in about 25% some surgical treatment is indicated. The present paper analyzes the effects of primary reconstructive surgeries in aspect of achieving delineated intraoperatively goals.

Children operated before the age of 18 months with follow-up period longer than 1 year were selected. Therapeutic goals established during the operation were identified by analysis of initial clinical status and operative protocols. The elementary movement components in shoulder and elbow joints were classified by assessing range of motion, score in Active Movement Scale and modified British Medical Research Council scale of muscle strength. The effect was considered satisfactory when some antigravity movement was possible, and good when strength exceeded M3 or antigravity movement exceeded half of range of passive movement.

In 13 of 19 patients most of established goals were achieved at good level, in 2 at satisfactory level. Remaining 4 patients showed improvement only in some aspects of extremity function. In 2 patients improvement in some movements was accompanied by worsening of other movements.

The analysis of results separated into individual components of movements showed that goals were achieved in most of the cases, simultaneously clearly indicating which damaged structures failed to provide satisfactory function despite being addressed intraoperatively.

The good results were obtained mainly by regeneration through grafts implanted after resection of neuroma in continuity, which proves that this technique is safe in spite of unavoidable temporary regression of function postoperatively.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska