Novel Uses of Nerve Transfers
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Nerve transfer surgery involves using a working, functional nerve with an expendable or duplicated function as a donor to supply axons and restore function to an injured recipient nerve. Nerve transfers were originally popularized for the restoration of motor function in patients with peripheral nerve injuries. However, more recently, novel uses of nerve transfers have been described, including nerve transfers for sensory reinnervation, nerve transfers for spinal cord injury and stroke patients, supercharge end-to-side nerve transfers, and targeted muscle reinnervation for the prevention and treatment of postamputation neuroma pain. The uses for nerve transfers and the patient populations that can benefit from nerve transfer surgery continue to expand. Awareness about these novel uses of nerve transfers among the medical community is important in order to facilitate evaluation and treatment of these patients by peripheral nerve specialists. A lack of knowledge of these techniques continues to be a major barrier to more widespread implementation.
Key WordsNerve injury nerve transfer sensory reinnervation spinal cord injury supercharge end-to-side transfer targeted muscle reinnervation
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