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Finger movement at birth in brachial plexus birth palsy

DOI: 10.5312/wjo.v4.i1.24

Keywords: Finger movement , Triangle tilt surgery , Brachial plexus birth palsy , Glenohumeral dysplasia , Pejorative sign

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AIM: To investigate whether the finger movement at birth is a better predictor of the brachial plexus birth injury. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study reviewing pre-surgical records of 87 patients with residual obstetric brachial plexus palsy in study 1. Posterior subluxation of the humeral head (PHHA), and glenoid retroversion were measured from computed tomography or Magnetic resonance imaging, and correlated with the finger movement at birth. The study 2 consisted of 141 obstetric brachial plexus injury patients, who underwent primary surgeries and/or secondary surgery at the Texas Nerve and Paralysis Institute. Information regarding finger movement was obtained from the patient’s parent or guardian during the initial evaluation. RESULTS: Among 87 patients, 9 (10.3%) patients who lacked finger movement at birth had a PHHA > 40%, and glenoid retroversion < -12°, whereas only 1 patient (1.1%) with finger movement had a PHHA > 40%, and retroversion < -8° in study 1. The improvement in glenohumeral deformity (PHHA, 31.8% ± 14.3%; and glenoid retroversion 22.0° ± 15.0°) was significantly higher in patients, who have not had any primary surgeries and had finger movement at birth (group 1), when compared to those patients, who had primary surgeries (nerve and muscle surgeries), and lacked finger movement at birth (group 2), (PHHA 10.7% ± 15.8%; Version -8.0° ± 8.4°, P = 0.005 and P = 0.030, respectively) in study 2. No finger movement at birth was observed in 55% of the patients in this study group. CONCLUSION: Posterior subluxation and glenoid retroversion measurements indicated significantly severe shoulder deformities in children with finger movement at birth, in comparison with those lacked finger movement. However, the improvement after triangle tilt surgery was higher in patients who had finger movement at birth.


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