Clinical evaluation of C7 spinal nerve transection: 21 patients with at least 2 years' follow-up

D. Chwei Chin Chuang*, Shao Lung Cheng, Fu Chan Wei, Chia Lun Wu, Yat Sen Ho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

54 Scopus citations


We have performed C7 spinal nerve transfer to treat root injury of the brachial plexus since 1989. Out of a total of 43 patients, 21 have been followed up for at least 2 years. Evaluation of the effect of C7 transection included clinical examination, intraoperative C7 stimulation, LIDO Workset machine and electrophysiological studies to test C7 innervated muscles, and histochemical analysis of the anterior and posterior division of the upper trunk using acetylcholinesterase stain. Nearly half of the study group (48%) reported no significant sensory changes and most patients (81%) did not notice any weakness of the limb following C7 transection. Some patients did experience sensory and motor abnormalties which were most frequent during the first postoperative month, improved during the 2nd month and in most cases resolved in the 3rd postoperative month. The only longer persistent abnormality was the triceps reflex, which becomes weak or absent. We also found that intraoperative C7 stimulation was a useful predictor of possible post-transection morbidity. Subclinical deficits, detected by the LIDO workset machine and by electrophysiological studies, were quite common. Histochemical analysis revealed that the posterior division of C7 had more motor fibres than the anterior division.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 06 1998
Externally publishedYes


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