Purpose: Glenohumeral (GH) joint reductions are frequently performed during tendon transfer surgery for brachial plexus birth injuries (BPBI); however, the effect of reduction method (none required, closed, surgical) has not been assessed. This study compared objective, functional, and patient-reported outcomes between children who underwent a tendon transfer and (1) did not require GH reduction, (2) required concomitant closed GH reduction, or (3) required concomitant surgical GH reduction. Methods: Fifty-four children with BPBI who previously underwent teres major and/or latissimus dorsi transfer with or without concomitant GH reduction participated. Joint reduction method was classified as none required (n = 21), closed (n = 9), or surgical (n = 24). Motion capture was collected in a neutral position, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation. Glenohumeral joint angles and displacements were calculated. Joint angular displacements represented the differences between the joint angles in each terminal position and the joint angles of the arm at rest in the neutral position. A hand surgeon determined modified Mallet scores. Participants’ parents completed the Brachial Plexus Profile Activity Short Form (BP-PRO-SF) to assess physical activity performance. Results: The no-reduction group had significantly less GH elevation than the surgical-reduction group for all positions and significantly less GH elevation than the closed-reduction group for the neutral, external rotation, and internal rotation positions. There were no differences in GH rotation angles. Glenohumeral joint displacements from neutral and modified Mallet scores were similar. The no-reduction group demonstrated significantly greater BP-PRO-SF scores than the surgical-reduction group. Conclusions: Patients who underwent a closed or surgical GH joint reduction consistently displayed more GH elevation. Clinically, this corresponds to an abduction contracture. Whereas increased abduction contracture provided a benefit of greater overhead motion, modified Mallet scores were similar between groups. The surgical-reduction group demonstrated lower BP-PRO-SF outcomes. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine