Satisfaction with upper extremity surgery in individuals with tetraplegia

Hanne Gregersen, Mille Lybæk, Inger Lauge Johannesen, Pernille Leicht, Ulla Vig Nissen, Fin Biering-Sørensen

12 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To supplement the scant information available regarding the satisfaction of patients with tetraplegia following upper extremity reconstructive surgery for such individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI).

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective study with questionnaire follow-up.

SETTING: The Danish Spinal Cord Injury Centers.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the initial review period, 119 upper extremity surgeries were performed on patients with tetraplegia (n = 49). Seven died and the remaining 42 were invited to complete a follow-up questionnaire with a five-level scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree regarding satisfaction. Forty patients completed the questionnaire.

RESULTS: Median time from first surgery was 13 years (2-36). Sixty-five percent of the sample had a C5-C6 SCI, with 64% experiencing complete injury. Initially, 76% of the sample expressed general satisfaction with life, but only 28% of the sample reported that hand appearance improved after surgery. Interestingly, those having surgery from 1991 to 2008 reported significantly greater satisfaction (P < 0.001) and were significantly more satisfied with activities of daily living (ADL) (P < 0.001) than those having surgery between the years 1973 and 1990. In particular, gain of independence was obtained with pinch/specific hand surgery compared to triceps activation. Accordingly, the pinch/specific hand surgery group was significantly more satisfied than the triceps group on the ADL (P = 0.027), and the independence questions (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Overall satisfaction with upper extremity surgery is high. It can have a positive impact on life in general, ability to perform ADL, as well as supplying an increased level of independence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)161-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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