Sensory Outcome in Children Following Microsurgery for Brachial Plexus Birth Injury.
J Hand Surg Am. 2019 Feb;44(2):159.e1-159.e8
Authors: Ho ES, Davidge K, Curtis CG, Clarke HM
PURPOSE: Studies are limited on sensory outcome in children with brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI). The purpose of this research was to evaluate the sensory function of the hand in children with BPBI who had microsurgical reconstruction of the brachial plexus.
METHODS: The sensory thresholds of children with upper and total plexus injury were evaluated with the Weinstein Enhanced Sensory Test and a test of stereognosis.
RESULTS: A total of 63 children participated (aged 10.92 ± 3.29 years), 24 (38%) of whom had abnormal sensory thresholds in the affected hand. Only 4 children had loss of protective sensation or higher thresholds. These 4 measurements were all identified in the territory of the superficial branch of the radial nerve. Twelve children with upper plexus (43%) and 12 (34%) with total plexus injury had sensory impairment in the affected hand. These proportions were not statistically different. Of all children evaluated, 18 (29%) had a lower stereognosis score in the affected hand compared with the unaffected hand. The proportions of children with impairment in stereognosis in the upper plexus group (n = 5; 18%) versus the total plexus group (n = 13; 37%) were not statistically different. Age at the time of assessment, sex, upper versus total plexus injury, number of root avulsions, subjective report of altered sensation, and Faces Pain Scale-Revised score were not related to sensory impairment in the affected hand.
CONCLUSIONS: Sensory recovery in BPBI after microsurgical reconstruction in children with total plexus injury who had reconstruction of the lower trunk had the potential to achieve sensory recovery similar to their upper plexus counterparts. A large proportion of children achieve normal sensory outcome, and those who had deficits had mild impairments.
TYPE OF STUDY/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic IV.
PMID: 30042027 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]