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Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-20-08-506
Review Article

Nerve Transfers for the Upper Extremity: New Horizons in Nerve Reconstruction

Lee, Steve K. MD; Wolfe, Scott W. MD

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Nerve transfers are key components of the surgeon's armamentarium in brachial plexus and complex nerve reconstruction. Advantages of nerve transfers are that nerve regeneration distances are shortened, pure motor or sensory nerve fascicles can be selected as donors, and nerve grafts are generally not required. Similar to the principle of tendon transfers, expendable donor nerves are transferred to denervated nerves with the goal of functional recovery. Transfers may be subdivided into intraplexal, extraplexal, and distal types; each has a unique role in the reconstructive process. A thorough diagnostic workup and intraoperative assessment help guide the surgeon in their use. Nerve transfers have made a positive impact on the outcomes of nerve surgery and are essential tools in complex nerve reconstruction.

© 2012 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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