Functional Evaluation of the Shoulder Following Latissimus Dorsi Muscle Transfer

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The dynamic muscle function of the shoulder in 26 patients (10 males, 16 females) who underwent a pedicled or free vascularized latissimus dorsi muscle transfer between 1985 and 1991 (mean follow-up, 4.4 yr) was studied. Instrumented muscle testing was performed on the Kinetic Communicator machine (Kin Com) and the Baltimore Therapeutic Equipment (BTE) work simulator. The female unilateral pedicle group (n = 13) showed a significant difference between operated and nonoperated shoulders for both peak torque (power) and work (endurance) measurements of shoulder adduction and extension on the Kin Com (mean ratios operated/nonoperated shoulders, 55% to 69%). They also showed significant differences for work performance on three of four BTE tests (mean ratios, 77% to 84%). The male free vascularized group (n = 10) similarly showed a significant deficit of both peak torque and work for shoulder extension and adduction on the Kin Com (mean ratios, 74% to 84%); however, they showed no deficit on the BTE tests. In conclusion, dynamic muscle tests demonstrate a deficit of muscle power and endurance of shoulder extension and adduction following latissimus dorsi muscle transfer.

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