J Korean Soc Surg Hand.  2017 Sep;22(3):154-164. 10.12790/jkssh.2017.22.3.154.

Nerve Transfer to Restore Upper Extremity Function

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. orthoyhl@snu.ac.kr


The term "˜Nerve Transfer' means the transfer of a normal or nearly normal fascicle or nerve branch to an important sensory or motor nerve that has sustained irreparable proximal damage. It is a kind of salvage procedure performed when the proximal part of a peripheral nerve is totally damaged and impossible to be repaired. In case of irreparable preganglionic injury, it is difficult to recovery the nerve function by only nerve graft. In this case, the uninjured nerve around the brachial plexus could be transferred to restore the function of the upper extremities. Previous studies have reported a high recovery rate for the function of the upper limb above the elbow and recent efforts have been made to restore the function of the upper limb below the elbow including hand functions. The purpose of this article is to review the type of nerve transfer to restore upper extremity function, operative technique, outcomes and complication.


Brachial plexus; Nerve transfer; Neurotization; Reconstruction of upper extremity
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