Outcome of axillary nerve injuries treated with nerve grafts

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2011 Sep;36(7):535-40. doi: 10.1177/1753193411406477. Epub 2011 May 5.


This study evaluates the outcome of axillary nerve injuries treated with nerve grafting. Thirty-six patients were retrospectively reviewed after a mean of 53 months (minimum 12 months). The mean interval from injury to surgery was 6.5 months. Recovery of deltoid function was assessed by the power of both abduction and retropulsion, the deltoid bulk and extension lag. The deltoid bulk was almost symmetrical in nine of 34 cases, good in 22 and wasted in three. Grade M4 or M5* was achieved in 30 of 35 for abduction and in 32 of 35 for retropulsion. There was an extension lag in four patients. Deltoid bulk continued to improve with a longer follow-up following surgery. Nerve grafting to the axillary nerve is a reliable method of regaining deltoid function when the lesion is distal to its origin from the posterior cord.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Axilla / innervation*
  • Brachial Plexus / injuries*
  • Brachial Plexus / surgery*
  • Child
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Transfer / methods*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome