Dual nerve transfers for restoration of shoulder function after brachial plexus avulsion injury

Bin Chu, Huan Wang, Liang Chen, Yudong Gu, Shaonan Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of shoulder function restoration by dual nerve transfers, spinal accessory nerve to the suprascapular nerve and 2 intercostal nerves to the anterior branch of the axillary nerve, in patients with shoulder paralysis that resulted from brachial plexus avulsion injury. It was a retrospective analysis to assess the impact of a variety of factors on reanimation of shoulder functions with dual nerve transfers. A total of 19 patients were included in this study. Most of these patients sustained avulsions of C5, C6, and C7 nerve roots (16 patients). Three of them had avulsions of C5 and C6 roots only. Through a posterior approach, direct coaptation of the intercostal nerves and the anterior branch of the axillary nerve was performed, along with accessory nerve transfer to the suprascapular nerve. Satisfactory shoulder function recovery (93.83 of shoulder abduction and 54.00 of external rotation on average) was achieved after a 62-month follow-up. This dual nerve transfer procedure provided us with a reliable and effective method for shoulder function reconstruction after brachial plexus root avulsion, especially C5/C6/C7 avulsion. The level of evidence is therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-673
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016


  • Axillary nerve
  • Brachial plexus
  • Intercostal nerve
  • Nerve transfer
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Shoulder abduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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