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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 4 | Pages 529 - 535
1 Apr 2012
Birch R Misra P Stewart MPM Eardley WGP Ramasamy A Brown K Shenoy R Anand P Clasper J Dunn R Etherington J

The outcomes of 261 nerve injuries in 100 patients were graded good in 173 cases (66%), fair in 70 (26.8%) and poor in 18 (6.9%) at the final review (median 28.4 months (1.3 to 64.2)). The initial grades for the 42 sutures and graft were 11 good, 14 fair and 17 poor. After subsequent revision repairs in seven, neurolyses in 11 and free vascularised fasciocutaneous flaps in 11, the final grades were 15 good, 18 fair and nine poor. Pain was relieved in 30 of 36 patients by nerve repair, revision of repair or neurolysis, and flaps when indicated. The difference in outcome between penetrating missile wounds and those caused by explosions was not statistically significant; in the latter group the onset of recovery from focal conduction block was delayed (mean 4.7 months (2.5 to 10.2) vs 3.8 months (0.6 to 6); p = 0.0001). A total of 42 patients (47 lower limbs) presented with an insensate foot. By final review (mean 27.4 months (20 to 36)) plantar sensation was good in 26 limbs (55%), fair in 16 (34%) and poor in five (11%). Nine patients returned to full military duties, 18 to restricted duties, 30 to sedentary work, and 43 were discharged from military service. Effective rehabilitation must be early, integrated and vigorous. The responsible surgeons must be firmly embedded in the process, at times exerting leadership.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 4 | Pages 523 - 528
1 Apr 2012
Birch R Misra P Stewart MPM Eardley WGP Ramasamy A Brown K Shenoy R Anand P Clasper J Dunn R Etherington J

We describe 261 peripheral nerve injuries sustained in war by 100 consecutive service men and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their mean age was 26.5 years (18.1 to 42.6), the median interval between injury and first review was 4.2 months (mean 8.4 months (0.36 to 48.49)) and median follow-up was 28.4 months (mean 20.5 months (1.3 to 64.2)). The nerve lesions were predominantly focal prolonged conduction block/neurapraxia in 116 (45%), axonotmesis in 92 (35%) and neurotmesis in 53 (20%) and were evenly distributed between the upper and the lower limbs. Explosions accounted for 164 (63%): 213 (82%) nerve injuries were associated with open wounds. Two or more main nerves were injured in 70 patients. The ulnar, common peroneal and tibial nerves were most commonly injured. In 69 patients there was a vascular injury, fracture, or both at the level of the nerve lesion. Major tissue loss was present in 50 patients: amputation of at least one limb was needed in 18. A total of 36 patients continued in severe neuropathic pain.

This paper outlines the methods used in the assessment of these injuries and provides information about the depth and distribution of the nerve lesions, their associated injuries and neuropathic pain syndromes.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 83-B, Issue 4 | Pages 517 - 524
1 May 2001
Stewart MPM Birch R

We studied a consecutive series of 58 patients with penetrating missile injuries of the brachial plexus to establish the indications for exploration and review the results of operation. At a mean of 17 weeks after the initial injury, 51 patients were operated on for known or suspected vascular injury (16), severe persistent pain (35) or complete loss of function in the distribution of one or more elements of the brachial plexus (51).

Repair of the nerve and vascular lesions abolished, or significantly relieved, severe pain in 33 patients (94%). Of the 36 patients who underwent nerve graft of one or more elements of the plexus, good or useful results were obtained in 26 (72%). Poor results were observed after repairs of the medial cord and ulnar nerve, and in patients with associated injury of the spinal cord. Neurolysis of lesions in continuity produced good or useful results in 21 of 23 patients (91%).

We consider that a vigorous approach is justified in the treatment of penetrating missile injury of the brachial plexus. Primary intervention is mandatory when there is evidence of a vascular lesion. Worthwhile results can be achieved with early secondary intervention in patients with debilitating pain, failure to progress and progression of the lesion while under observation. There is cause for optimism in nerve repair, particularly of the roots C5, C6 and C7 and of the lateral and posterior cords, but the prognosis for complete lesions of the plexus associated with damage to the cervical spinal cord is particularly poor.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 79-B, Issue 1 | Pages 68 - 72
1 Jan 1997
Stewart MPM Kelly IG

We made a prospective study of 58 consecutive Neer II total shoulder replacements in 49 rheumatoid patients. Cemented glenoid and press-fit humeral components had been used. After a mean follow-up of 9.5 years (7 to 13), 11 patients (15 shoulders) had died, one shoulder had been arthrodesed and five patients (five shoulders) had been lost to follow-up.

Of the remaining 37 shoulders 29 were painfree or had only slight discomfort, four had pain on unusual activity, and four had moderate or severe pain. There were satisfactory improvements in the mean range of active elevation (53° to 75°) and external rotation (5° to 38°); satisfactory performance of the activities of daily living had been maintained throughout follow-up. Radiographs showed loosening in ten shoulders of nine glenoid and nine humeral components but of these only three had significant symptoms. Three loose glenoid components and two loose humeral components required revision.

We consider that the Neer total shoulder replacement provides a reasonable medium to long-term outcome in rheumatoid arthritis, but recommend that the humeral component should be routinely cemented.