Management of Upper Extremities in Tetraplegia: Current Concepts

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Abstract

Individuals with tetraplegia face many obstacles with activities of daily living. Although approximately 65% to 75% of individuals with tetraplegia would benefit from upper extremity surgery that could make many of their activities of daily living more spontaneous, only 14% of patients who are surgical candidates undergo tendon transfer procedures. A good surgical candidate has an injury at one of the cervical spine levels and an International Classification for Surgery of the Hand in Tetraplegia group of 1 or better, has functional goals, and is committed to the postoperative rehabilitation process. Surgery primarily consists of tendon transfers, tenodesis, and arthrodesis to restore elbow extension and hand pinch, grasp, and release. Nerve transfers and functional electrical stimulation are also options for treatment.

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