Role of Functional Electrical Stimulation in Tetraplegia Hand Surgery

  • Ines Bersch
    Corresponding author Ines Bersch, PT, MSc, Swiss Paraplegic Center, Guido A. Zäch Strasse, CH-6207 Nottwil, Switzerland.
    Swiss Paraplegic Center, Nottwil, Switzerland
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  • Jan Fridén
    Swiss Paraplegic Center, Nottwil, Switzerland

    Center for Advanced Reconstruction of Extremities, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden

    Department of Hand Surgery, Institute of Clinical Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden
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      The use of functional electrical stimulation (FES) to improve upper limb function is an established method in the rehabilitation of persons with tetraplegia after spinal cord injury. Surgical reconstruction is another well-established yet underused technique to improve the performance of the upper extremities. Hand surgery plays an essential role in restoring hand function, mobility, and quality of life in the tetraplegic population. The knowledge about the effects of FES on a structural and functional level is fundamental for understanding how and when FES can be used best to support the effect of hand surgery, both pre- and postoperatively. In this article we discuss principles of FES and how FES improves functional outcome after surgical reconstruction. The reported results are based on preliminary clinical observations.


      List of abbreviations:

      BR (brachioradialis), FES (functional electrical stimulation), LMN (lower motor neuron), SCI (spinal cord injury)
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