Clinical and functional outcome after different surgical approaches for brachial plexus injuries: Cohort study

Jimmy Kuncoro, Fani Deapsari, Heri Suroto

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: Brachial plexus injury (BPI) can result in complete loss of neurological function and reduces the quality of life. Nerve transfer, nerve grafting, external neurolysis, and free functional muscle transfer are several management options that determine the eventual outcomes. Despite various methods of treatment, hardly any literature compares directly the result of these treatment options. This study aimed to analyze differences in clinical and functional outcomes after a reconstructive surgery. Methods: A cohort retrospective study was conducted on traumatic brachial plexus injured patients aged from 17 to 65 years at one hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia, from January 2009 to December 2019. All patients were divided into 4 groups depending on the types of surgery. The clinical outcomes were measured using elbow and shoulder muscle strength, elbow and shoulder range of motion (ROM), and pain level (measured using Visual Analog Scale/VAS); the functional outcomes were measured using the overall quality of life using the DASH (disabilities of the arms, shoulder, and hand) score. Results: This study included 316 patients comprising of 256 males with an average age of 27.53 ± 11.37, an average time from injury to surgery of 17.74 ± 35.82 months, and average follow-up duration of 59.89 ± 37.68 months. Most cases were caused by road traffic accidents (77.22%) and most were total arm type of BPI injury (70.7%). There was no significant difference in the mean values of study parameters except in VAS (p = 0.042) as nerve grafting resulted in less pain than external neurolysis (2.27 ± 1.03 vs. 3.68 ± 1.93, respectively; p = 0.017). Besides, nerve transfer procedure also resulted in less pain compared to external neurolysis (2.99 ± 1.84 vs. 3.68 ± 1.93, respectively; p = 0.036). Conclusion: We found no significant difference between types of surgery and the postsurgical outcome. A wider multicenter study was required to define the clinical and functional outcomes clearly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103714
JournalAnnals of Medicine and Surgery
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Brachial plexus injury
  • DASH score
  • Range of motion
  • Type of surgery
  • Visual analogue score


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