February 27, 2016

A new method in which a number of operations are performed simultaneously can provide people with tetraplegia with a better grip function and the ability to open their hand. This method also shortens the patient’s rehabilitation period by at least three months, reveals a doctoral thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

If the neck is broken and there is a cervical spinal cord injury, muscles in the arm and hand are paralysed. But in many cases some muscle functions remain, which makes it possible to transfer muscles and tendons and thereby restore a tetraplegic person’s grip function.

About 50 or so such hand operations are performed every year at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and patients come from both Sweden and Europe. There have been major advances in surgical techniques in recent years. For example, the method of connecting tendons is now so strong and can withstand such a heavy strain that the patient can start to exercise his or her grasp just one day after the operation.

A dissertation at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, describes a new method in which several operations can be combined and performed simultaneously in order to create both a grasp and release function of the hand in people with tetraplegia following a cervical spinal cord injury.

 

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