Upper Extremity Reconstruction

Reconstructive surgical procedures can address many injuries, disorders and congenital defects of the upper extremities, including the arm, forearm and hand. These procedures may involve complex techniques such as microsurgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafts, flaps, nerve transfer or tendon transfer.

Indications for Upper Extremity Reconstruction

  • Traumatic hand/arm injury
  • Vascular injury
  • Congenital deformity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tetraplegia
  • Workplace or overuse injury/syndrome
  • Traumatic brachial plexus injury

If Dr. Morse recommends reconstructive surgery for the upper extremities, he will explain the procedure in depth during your consultation and answer any questions you have. Surgery risks, recovery time, and other important details will be discussed, so you have an adequate understanding of the procedure before you choose to proceed.

Upper Extremity Reconstruction: Procedures

Brachial plexus reconstruction may be recommended in cases of shoulder and elbow weakness, arm paralysis, upper extremity pain, or upper extremity numbness caused by nerve damage in the shoulder. Surgery is performed with the goal of recovering function of the Brachial Plexus and relieving pressure on the nerves. Common techniques in brachial plexus reconstruction include:

  • Erb's palsy repair
  • Nerve transfer/grafting
  • Complete brachial plexus reconstruction

These reconstructive procedures require several hours to complete. To restore upper extremity function, Dr. Morse may need to perform nerve grafting or nerve transfer. The scar tissue is first cleared away from the nerve and examined. A nerve graft may need to be transplanted from the leg, or a nerve transfer may need to be taken from an adjacent area and sewn in.

Reconstructive Hand Surgery

Tetraplegia reconstruction may be recommended by Dr. Morse for patients with C6 lesions, vascular trauma to the upper extremity, or upper extremity defects. Tendons, which are still under voluntary muscle control, are transferred from one area of the forearm to a new attachment at the wrist. This helps restore normal wrist extension and improves the patient's ability to perform routine tasks.

View other procedure pages for information on Hand surgery, Carpal Tunnel Release, and Non-Surgical treatments for hand disorders.

To find out more about reconstructive surgery for the upper extremity, contact the office of reconstructive surgeon Dr. Martin Morse.