Nine hundred and seventeen nerve injuries involving the upper extremity were studied over a fifty-six-month period. When the nerves remained in continuity, although functionally inactive, spontaneous recovery occurred in 70 per cent of gunshot wounds and 85 per cent of fracture-dislocations. The time scale for spontaneous nerve recovery was one to four months for fractures and three to nine months for gunshot wounds. When the nerves were severed, epineural suture was successful in 44 per cent of lacerations and 25 per cent of gunshot wounds. Nerve suture was most successful when the patient was less than twenty years old.
Department of Orthopaedics, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131