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Range of motion and strength after surgery for brachial plexus birth palsy

, : Range of motion and strength after surgery for brachial plexus birth palsy. Acta Orthopaedica 82(1): 69-75

There is little information about the range of motion (ROM) and strength of the affected upper limbs of patients with permanent brachial plexus birth palsy. 107 patients who had brachial plexus surgery in Finland between 1971 and 1998 were investigated in this population-based, cross-sectional, 12-year follow-up study. During the follow-up, 59 patients underwent secondary procedures. ROM and isometric strength of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and thumbs were measured. Ratios for ROM and strength between the affected and unaffected sides were calculated. 61 patients (57%) had no active shoulder external rotation (median 0° (-75-90)). Median active abduction was 90° (1-170). Shoulder external rotation strength of the affected side was diminished (median ratio 28% (0-83)). Active elbow extension deficiency was recorded in 82 patients (median 25° (5-80)). Elbow flexion strength of the affected side was uniformly impaired (median ratio 43% (0-79)). Median active extension of the wrist was 55° (-70-90). The median ratio of grip strength for the affected side vs. the unaffected side was 68% (0-121). Patients with total injury had poorer ROM and strength than those with C5-6 injury. Incongruity of the radiohumeral joint and avulsion were associated with poor strength values. ROM and strength of affected upper limbs of patients with surgically treated brachial plexus birth palsy were reduced. Patients with avulsion injuries and/or consequent joint deformities fared worst.


PMID: 21142823

DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2010.539499

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