Nerve Transfers in the Lower Extremity Current Concept Review
Main Article Content
The utilization of nerve transfer procedures in the upper extremity following brachial plexus injury, trauma, spinal cord injury, tumors, infection or other etiologies are well established. Nerve injuries in the lower extremity pose several additional challenges, including longer distance to target motor end plates, far-proximal injuries in the lumbar plexus or pelvis, delayed presentation, and concomitant limb trauma. Nerve transfers in the lower extremity have the potential to provide functional (sensory or motor) recovery distally after direct surgical coaptation of a functional donor nerve to a non-functional recipient nerve. In addition, the ability to perform pure motor or sensory fascicular transfers allows for focused recovery while limiting donor morbidity. Indications for nerve transfers in the lower extremity are evolving, but have been utilized for non-recovering peroneal, obturator, femoral or tibial nerve palsies, to provide protective sensation to the plantar aspect of the of foot, as well as for painful neuropathies/neuromas. There is a paucity of orthopaedic literature on this topic and our review aims to highlight the current state of lower extremity nerve transfers as they relate to the practicing orthopaedist, including future directions in the field.