Spasticity and hyperselective neurectomy in the upper limb

M. Gras, C. Leclercq

Hand Surg Rehabil. 2017 Oct 12. pii: S2468-1229(17)30141-X. doi: 10.1016/j.hansur.2017.06.009


Spasticity is a complex pathology, both in terms of assessment and treatment. This article focuses on the clinical examination (objective, capacity, performance and function), which is key for choosing a treatment and can be helped by botulinum toxin injections. The treatment involves physical therapy, occupational therapy, medications and surgery. Neurectomy has been used in the upper limb since 1912 and is one of the therapeutic options for spasticity. This treatment is usually reserved for nonfunctional hands. Cadaver studies have helped us better understand nerve anatomy and improve the hyperselective neurectomy (HSN) technique. This article describes the history of neurectomy, how anatomical dissections apply to surgery, the HSN technique in the musculocutaneous nerve, median nerve and ulnar nerve and results of preliminary prospective studies. Spasticity, mobility, performance and function were evaluated a few months after HSN and about 12 months later to assess the permanence of the results in children and adult spastic patients. No matter the nerve or function targeted (elbow extension, wrist extension, or supination), spasticity was reduced with improvements in the functional House score and appeared stable at the last follow-up. HSN seems to be a good, reliable therapeutic option for spasticity, including functional hands.