Nerve transfer in delayed obstetrical palsy repair

Filippo Sénès, Nunzio Catena, Jacopo Sénès

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective When root avulsions are detected in children suffering from obstetrical brachial plexus palsy (OBPP), neurotization procedures of different nerve trunks are commonly applied in primary brachial plexus repair, to connect distally the nerves of the upper limbs using healthy nerve structures. This article aims to outline our experience of neurotization procedures in OBPP, which involves nerve transfers in the event of delayed repair, when a primary repair has not occurred or has failed. In addition, we propose the opportunity for late repair, focusing on extending the time limit for nerve surgery beyond that which is usually recommended. Although, according to different authors, the time limit is still unclear, it is generally estimated that nerve repair should take place within the first months of life. In fact, microsurgical repair of OBPP is the technique of choice for young children with the condition who would otherwise have an unfavorable outcome. However, in certain cases the recovery process is not clearly defined so not all the patients are direct candidates for primary nerve surgery. Methods In the period spanning January 2005 through January 2011, among a group of 105 patients suffering from OBPP, ranging from 1month to 7 years of age, the authors have identified a group of 32 partially recovered patients. All these patients underwent selective neurotization surgery, which was performed in a period ranging from5 months to 6.6 years of age. Results Late neurotization of muscular groups achieved considerable functional recovery in these patients, who presented with reduced motor function during early childhood. The said patients, with the exception of five, would initially have avoided surgery because they had not met the criteria for nerve surgery. Conclusion We have concluded that the execution of late nerve surgical procedures can be effective in children affected by OBPP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2-e14
JournalJournal of Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injury
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Delayed nerve repair
  • Nerve transfer
  • Neurotization
  • Obstetrical brachial plexus palsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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