CONCLUSIONS: This first clinical report on CONFNT demonstrated a feasible good alternative in treating young patients with AFM with unilateral L2-L4 palsy and short duration of deficit.
Methods: Eight patients with a median age at onset of 3.8 years (range, 2.3 to 9.9 years) were identified. There was loss of shoulder abduction and external rotation in all patients, loss of elbow flexion in 5 patients, complete or partial loss of hand function in 3 patients, and spinal accessory nerve palsy in 2 patients. All patients underwent surgical reconstruction, which was categorized into 3 main groups: nerve transfer, secondary muscle transfer, and free muscle transfer.
Results: The median follow-up period was 39 months (range, 30 to 94 months). Four patients obtained ≥90° of shoulder abduction whereas the other 4 patients had shoulder abduction of ≤70°. The 5 patients who received free muscle transfer or nerve transfer to restore elbow function obtained ≥140° of elbow flexion. Two patients treated with free muscle transfer to restore finger function obtained satisfactory total active motion of the fingers (180°).
Conclusions: The patterns of paralysis and the strategy and outcomes of surgical reconstruction for patients with AFM differed from those for traumatic and obstetric brachial plexus palsy. All patients had loss of shoulder abduction, and 2 had spinal accessory nerve palsy. Restoration of shoulder function was unpredictable and depended on the quality of the donor nerves and recovery of synergistic muscles. Restoration of elbow and hand function was more consistent and satisfactory.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete list of levels of evidence.