Outcomes of Reconstructive Surgery in Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injury with Concomitant Vascular Injury

Alice E. Huang, Shelley S. Noland, Robert J. Spinner, Allen T. Bishop, Alexander Y. Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate functional outcome from reconstructive surgery in adult traumatic brachial plexus injury (AT-BPI) with associated vascular lesions. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of 325 patients with AT-BPI who underwent reconstructive surgery between 2001 and 2012. Patients with (vascular group) and without (control group) vascular injuries were identified by review of medical documentation. Patient presentation, characteristics of nerve and associated lesions, and surgical management were evaluated to identify prognostic variables. Postoperative muscle strength, range of motion, and patient-reported disability scores were analyzed to determine long-term outcome. Results: Sixty-eight patients had a concomitant vascular injury. There were no significant differences in age or sex between the control and vascular groups. The vascular group was more likely to have pan-plexus lesions (P < 0.0001), with significantly more associated upper extremity injuries (P < 0.0001). The control group underwent more nerve transfers, whereas the vascular group underwent more nerve grafting (P = 0.003). Complete outcome data were obtained in 139 patients, which included 111 control (43% of all control subjects) and 28 vascular patients (41%). There was no significant difference in patient-reported disability scores between the 2 groups. However, 73% of control subjects had grade 3 or greater postoperative elbow flexion, whereas only 43% of vascular patients achieved this strength (P = 0.003). Control patients demonstrated a greater increase in strength of shoulder abduction as well (P = 0.004). Shoulder external rotation strength was grade 0 in most patients, with no difference between the 2 groups. Conclusions: Concomitant vascular injury leads to worse functional outcome after reconstructive surgery of traumatic brachial plexus injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e350-e357
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Adult traumatic brachial plexus
  • Surgical outcomes
  • Vascular injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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