This case report describes an isolated radial nerve avulsion in a pediatric patient, treated by combination sensory and motor median to radial nerve transfers. After traumatic avulsion of the proximal radial nerve, a 12-year-old male patient underwent end-to-end transfer of median nerve branches to flexor carpi radialis and flexor digitorum superficialis to the posterior interosseous nerve and extensor carpi radialis nerve, respectively. He underwent end-to-side sensory transfer of the superficial radial sensory to the median sensory nerve. Pronator teres to extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon transfer was simultaneously performed to power short-term wrist extension. Within months after surgery, the patient had regained 9–10/10 sensation in the hand and forearm. In the following months and years, he regained dexterity, independent fine-finger and thumb motions, and 4–5/5 strength in all extensors except the abductor pollicis longus muscle. He grew 25 cm without extremity deformity or need for secondary orthopedic procedures. In appropriate adult and pediatric patients with proximal radial nerve injuries, nerve transfers have advantages over tendon transfers, including restored independent fine finger motions, regained sensation, and reinnervation of multiple muscle groups with minimal donor sacrifice.
Ellen L. Larson, Katherine B. Santosa, Susan E. Mackinnon and Alison K. Snyder-Warwick
Wilson Z. Ray, Santosh S. Kale, Rahul Kasukurthi, Esther M. Papp, Philip J. Johnson, Katherine B. Santosa, Ying Yan, Daniel A. Hunter, Susan E. Mackinnon and Thomas H. Tung
Nerve allotransplantation provides a temporary scaffold for host nerve regeneration and allows for the reconstruction of significant segmental nerve injuries. The need for systemic immunosuppression, however, limits the current clinical utilization of nerve allografts, although this need is reduced by the practice of cold nerve allograft preservation. Activation of T cells in response to alloantigen presentation occurs in the context of donor antigen presenting cells (direct pathway) or host antigen-presenting cells (indirect pathway). The relative role of each pathway in eliciting an alloimmune response and its potential for rejection of the nerve allograft model has not previously been investigated. The objective of this investigation was to study the effect of progressive periods of cold nerve allograft preservation on antigen presentation and the alloimmune response.
The authors used wild type C57Bl/6 (B6), BALB/c, and major histocompatibility Class II–deficient (MHC−/−) C57Bl/6 mice as both nerve allograft recipients and donors. A nonvascularized nerve allograft was used to reconstruct a 1-cm sciatic nerve gap. Progressive cold preservation of donor nerve allografts was used. Quantitative assessment was made after 3 weeks using nerve histomorphometry.
The donor-recipient combination lacking a functional direct pathway (BALB/c host with MHC−/− graft) rejected nerve allografts as vigorously as wild-type animals. Without an intact indirect pathway (MHC−/− host with BALB/c graft), axonal regeneration was improved (p < 0.052). One week of cold allograft preservation did not improve regeneration to any significant degree in any of the donor-recipient combinations. Four weeks of cold preservation did improve regeneration significantly (p < 0.05) for all combinations compared with wild-type animals without pretreatment. However, only in the presence of an intact indirect pathway (no direct pathway) did 4 weeks of cold preservation improve regeneration significantly compared with 1 week and no preservation in the same donorrecipient combination.
The indirect pathway may be the predominant route of antigen presentation in the unmodified host response to the nerve allograft. Prolonged duration of cold nerve allograft preservation is required to significantly attenuate the rejection response. Cold preservation for 4 weeks improves nerve regeneration with a significant effect on indirect allorecognition.