EARLY SURGICAL EXPLORATION OF RADIAL NERVE INJURY ASSOCIATED WITH FRACTURE SHAFT HUMERUS


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Abstract

The series included 36 patients, predominantly male, mean age 30.3 years. The most common cause of injury was motor car accident in 20 patients. Postreduction radial nerve injury occurred in nine cases. Open fracture humerus with radial nerve injury in seven cases. The fractures were situated in the middle or distal third of the humeral shaft. Most were transverse fractures. Twelve patients had surgery on the day of injury and the other 24 at a mean of 8 days later (3-14). Narrow dynamic compression plate was generally used for fixation. Exploration of the radial nerve demonstrated compression at the lateral intermuscular septum in 19 cases, entrapment in the fracture site in nine cases, and loss of its continuity in eight cases. Neurolysis was required in 20 cases, epineurorrhaphy in nine cases, interfascicular nerve grafts in five, and first-intention tendon transfer in two. Results of nerve surgery were assessed with the MRC (Medical Research Council) at a mean follow-up of 8.2 years. Outcome was rated good to excellent in 28 patients, fair in 1, and poor (failure) in 3. First-intention tendon transfers were performed in 2 patients and 2 patients were lost to follow-up. Mean delay to recovery was 7 months after neurolysis and nerve repair and 15 months after nerve grafts. The fracture was united in all cases. The mean time of union was 5 months.

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