Selective Neurotization of the Infraspinatus Muscle in Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Patients Using the Accessory Nerve

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Abstract

Summary:

The authors present a new technique to improve active shoulder external rotation in patients with brachial plexus birth injury. Eight brachial plexus birth injury patients (aged 1.5 to 4.7 years) lacking active external rotation in adduction (<10 degrees) with congruent glenohumeral joints and no significant internal rotation contracture (passive external rotation >45 degrees) underwent neurotization of the infraspinatus branch of the suprascapular nerve with the spinal accessory nerve. Active and passive range of shoulder motion was measured postoperatively (3, 6, and 12 months). Parents’ satisfaction was assessed. At 1-year follow-up, mean improvement for active external rotation was 47 degrees (range, 20 to 85 degrees) in adduction and 49 degrees (range, 5 to 85 degrees) in abduction. All but one patient’s parents were satisfied. Functionally significant active external rotation can be restored in brachial plexus birth injury by direct neurotization of the infraspinatus muscle.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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