Tetraparesia: Treatment with nerve transfers


In cases of cervical spinal cord injury, a more or less complete paralysis of all four limbs occurs. In the case of the upper limbs, depending on the injured spinal level, sensory or motor functions will be preserved in variable degree. That is, depending on whether the injury is higher or lower, some movements will be preserved and some others won’t. In order to regain control of some of the muscles corresponding to the injured area of cervical spinal cord, it is possible to perform nerve transfers from neighboring nerves. This allows the recovery of some functions and so improve the quality of life of patients with tetraplegia (quadriplegia) through improvement of their autonomy for day to day activities. For instance, recovering elbow extension, extension of the wrist and fingers, closing the hand… In each case, the spinal cord injury as well as nerves that still work properly will be assessed, in order to plan the best treatment strategy. Some of nerve transfers involve the same technique used in the repair of brachial plexus injuries.

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