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imageAbstract: The primary goal of the surgical treatment of upper brachial plexus injuries is to restore active elbow flexion. Accordingly, Oberlin’s transfer has been frequently performed since 1994 and has influenced the development of other nerve transfers. However, the window of opportunity for nerve transfers remains a subject of controversy. The objective of this study was to assess magnetic resonance (MR) neurographic, clinical and electrophysiological long-term results after Oberlin’s transfer. For this purpose, we performed a retrospective follow-up study. Six patients with upper brachial plexus or musculocutaneous nerve injuries were assessed; 2 were iatrogenic nerve injuries following shoulder arthroscopy or neurofibroma resection. Direct and indirect signs of neuropathy were objectified with MR neurography. Moreover, clinical and electrodiagnostic follow-up was performed and all patients completed the Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand score. Mean follow-up was 48 ± 21.9 (range, 20–73) months. Mean age was 40 ± 11.3 years and mean delay to surgery was 9 ± 3.2 months. All patients were satisfied with the functional results and the median Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand score was 21 (range, 1–57). Biceps strength was improved in 5 patients from Medical Research Council grade M0 to M4-5 and in one patient to M2-3. The donor nerve showed normal motor and sensory action potentials. Follow-up MR neurography demonstrated biceps reinnervation. Taken together, this study reports good long-term results after Oberlin’s transfer. MR neurography represents an excellent, noninvasive preoperative planning tool and can be of high value in selected postoperative cases. The combined evaluation of nerves and muscles may help to indicate nerve transfers in delayed cases.

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