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New tool to measure outcomes could help improve arm surgery for devastating nerve injury
Date:5/19/2011

The way that clinicians report outcomes of surgery for a traumatic nerve injury involving the arm is not standardized, and it is thus difficult to compare the efficacy of different surgical treatments, according to a study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York. In a second HSS study, investigators say they have developed a tool to measure outcomes that they hope can be refined and used worldwide. Both studies will be presented at the International Symposium on Brachial Plexus Surgery, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, May 19-21.

"There is a great deal of discrepancy in how the results of brachial plexus surgery are reported. This makes it hard to compare and contrast studies and understand outcomes of brachial plexus surgeries across centers and across continents. From this work, we have determined that there is a need for a standardized outcomes measurement system or tool," said Steve K. Lee, M.D., who will be joining HSS in August to help launch the Hospital for Special Surgery Center for Brachial Plexus and Complex Nerve Injury and will serve as the center's research director.

"To advance the science, you can only compare what we are doing here and what others are doing in other countries if we are all speaking the same outcomes language and using the same tool," noted Dr. Lee, who is currently an associate professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases. He points out that many of the studies are conducted in Thailand and Brazil, where brachial plexus injury is common because of the popularity of mopeds and motorcycles.

Injuries to the brachial plexus, the nerves that conduct signals to the shoulder, arm, and hand, can have devastating consequences, including loss of function and chronic pain. These nerves originate at the spinal cord and correspond to four neck vertebrae and one thoracic (upper back) vertebrae. Symptoms include partial or compl
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
phyllis.fisher@gmail.com
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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