Targeted Muscle Reinnervation: A Systematic Review of Nerve Transfers for the Upper Extremity : Annals of Plastic Surgery

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Peripheral Nerve Surgery and Research

Targeted Muscle Reinnervation

A Systematic Review of Nerve Transfers for the Upper Extremity

Henderson, Joshua T. MD; Koenig, Zachary A. MD; Climov, Mihail MD; Gelman, Jack MD

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Annals of Plastic Surgery 90(5):p 462-470, May 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000003498



Despite inspiring improvements in postamputation pain and prosthetic control, targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) continues to be underused. With some consistency for recommended nerve transfers developing in the literature, it is necessary to systematize these techniques and simplify their incorporation into routine amputation and neuroma care. This systematic review explores the coaptations reported in the literature to date.


A systematic review of the literature was performed to collect all reports describing nerve transfers in the upper extremity. The preference was directed toward original studies presenting surgical techniques and coaptations used in TMR. All target muscle options were presented for each nerve transfer in the upper extremity.


Twenty-one original studies describing TMR nerve transfers throughout the upper extremity met inclusion criteria. A comprehensive list of transfers reported for major peripheral nerves at each upper extremity amputation level was included in tables. Ideal nerve transfers were suggested based on convenience and frequency with which certain coaptations were reported.


Increasingly frequent studies are published with convincing outcomes with TMR and numerous options for nerve transfers and target muscles. It is prudent to appraise these options to provide patients with optimal outcomes. Certain muscles are more consistently targeted and can serve as a baseline plan for the reconstructive surgeon interested in incorporating these techniques.

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