Rehabilitation of Supinator Nerve to Posterior Interosseous Nerve Transfer in Individuals With Tetraplegia


      Despite being a routine part of the early surgical management of brachial plexus injury, nerve transfers have only recently been used as a reconstructive option for those with tetraplegia. Subsequently, there is limited published literature on the rehabilitation theories and techniques for optimizing outcomes in this population. This article seeks to address this void by presenting our centers' working model for rehabilitation after nerve transfers for individuals with tetraplegia. The model is illustrated with the example of the rehabilitation process after a supinator nerve to posterior interosseous nerve transfer. This nerve transfer reconstructs wrist, finger, and thumb extension. The topics covered in the model include the following: patient selection and presurgical planning/intervention, managing the postoperative healing phase of an individual who is wheelchair dependent, maximizing motor reeducation, increasing muscle strength, and ensuring use in functional tasks. This article provides a platform for further development and collaboration to improve the outcomes of patients who undergo nerve transfers after tetraplegia.


      List of abbreviations:

      BPI (brachial plexus injury), cSCI (cervical spinal cord injury), EDC (extensor digitorum communis), EPL (extensor pollicis longus), IPJ (interphalangeal joint), MCPJ (metacarpophalangeal joint), MRC (Medical Research Council), PIN (posterior interosseous nerve)
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