Isolated and combined lesions of the axillary nerve. A review of 146 cases

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1999 Mar;81(2):212-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.81b2.8301.


We have assessed the final strength of the deltoid in 121 patients who had repair of isolated or combined lesions of the axillary (circumflex) nerve and were available for statistical analysis. Successful or useful results were achieved in 85% after grafting of isolated lesions. The strength was statistically better when patients had grafting of the axillary nerve within 5.3 months from the time of injury. The dramatic decrease in the rate of success seen with longer delays suggests that surgery should be undertaken within three months of injury. A statistically significant downward trend of the rate of success was noted with increasing age. The force and level of injury to the shoulder play an important role in the type, combination and level of nerve damage and the incidence of associated rotator-cuff, vascular and other injuries to the upper limb. Management of isolated and combined lesions of the axillary nerve after injury to the shoulder needs to be thorough and systematic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Axilla*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / transplantation*
  • Rotator Cuff / innervation*
  • Rotator Cuff / physiopathology
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Shoulder*
  • Time Factors