Restoration of external rotation of the shoulder in adults with partial brachial plexus palsies is challenging. While nerve grafts are possible, nerve transfers are currently the most use method for satisfactory restoration of function. Numerous nerve transfers have been described, although the transfer of the spinal accessory nerve to the suprascapular nerve remains the gold standard. The suprascapular nerve and the nerve to the teres minor muscle are the two preferred targets to restore external rotation of the shoulder. There are numerous nerve donors, but their use obviously depends on the initial injury. The most common donors are the spinal accessory nerve, the rhomboid nerve, branches of the radial nerve, the C7 root fascicle or the ulnar nerve. The choice for the transfer depends on the available nerves and first of all on chosen approach, whether it be cervical or scapular. It also depends on the other associated reconstruction procedures, grafts, or nerve transfers for the recovery of other functions, specifically, elevation of the shoulder and flexion of the elbow. The objective of this chapter is to present the main nerve transfers and to propose a therapeutic strategy.
Part of the book: Brachial Plexus Injury