Nerve Injuries of the Upper Extremity—Expected Outcome and Clinical Examination

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Nerve injuries are common in trauma surgery and appear more frequently if the upper extremity is affected. The aim of this study is to estimate possible predictors of the outcome after nerve injury of the upper extremity and to demonstrate feasible tools to follow up postoperative nerve regeneration for the daily clinical practice. During January 2000 until December 2004, a total of 372 nerve lesions of the upper extremity have been treated in our clinic. Patient's age, site of nerve lesion, concomitant injuries, and the timing of surgical repair could be outlined to be significant predictors for clinical outcome. Digital nerve lesions showed the best regenerative capacity. Most predictors of clinical outcome such as patient's age, concomitant injuries, and site of lesion cannot be influenced. But knowing the predictors helps specify the prognosis of nerve regeneration. For the daily clinical practice, static two-point discrimination, location of Tinel's sign, and grip strength measurement seem to be fast and reproducible tools to follow up nerve regeneration at the upper extremity.

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