Median to radial nerve transfer after traumatic radial nerve avulsion in a pediatric patient

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2019 May 31;24(2):209-214. doi: 10.3171/2019.3.PEDS18550.

Abstract

This case report describes an isolated radial nerve avulsion in a pediatric patient, treated by combination sensory and motor median to radial nerve transfers. After traumatic avulsion of the proximal radial nerve, a 12-year-old male patient underwent end-to-end transfer of median nerve branches to flexor carpi radialis and flexor digitorum superficialis to the posterior interosseous nerve and extensor carpi radialis nerve, respectively. He underwent end-to-side sensory transfer of the superficial radial sensory to the median sensory nerve. Pronator teres to extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon transfer was simultaneously performed to power short-term wrist extension. Within months after surgery, the patient had regained 9-10/10 sensation in the hand and forearm. In the following months and years, he regained dexterity, independent fine-finger and thumb motions, and 4-5/5 strength in all extensors except the abductor pollicis longus muscle. He grew 25 cm without extremity deformity or need for secondary orthopedic procedures. In appropriate adult and pediatric patients with proximal radial nerve injuries, nerve transfers have advantages over tendon transfers, including restored independent fine finger motions, regained sensation, and reinnervation of multiple muscle groups with minimal donor sacrifice.

Keywords: median to radial nerve transfer; pediatrics; peripheral nerve; radial nerve injury.

Publication types

  • Case Reports