Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steps in the development of reconstructive tetraplegia surgery in Hungary from 1958 to 2010 by Drs. Istvan Turcsanyi and Jan Fridén

In 1958 a 17 year old tetraplegic girl underwent reconstruction of hand function by Drs. Jenő Manninger and Jörg Böhler in Hungary. This procedure was rarely performed in Hungary but during 1980s a few cases have been carried out. In attempt to improve tetraplegia upper limb surgery service in Hungary, we initiated a project to provide this service the year of 2002. Between 2002 and 2010, 57 tetraplegic patients were treated with surgical reconstruction of upper limbs. Interval between injury and examination ranged from 1 to 27 years. They had all sustained traumatic spinal cord injuries from level C4 to C7. 140 individuals with tetraplegia were examined initially. 125 reconstructions were performed on the 57 patients. Surgical treatments included restoration of elbow extension, active key pinch and grasp and active thumb abduction. An average active elbow extension strength grade 4 and average key pinch of 3.9 kg and grasp of 6.2 kg could be restored. It is concluded that reconstructive surgery on upper limbs in patients with tetraplegia play an important role in the rehabilitation. This review of the history shows that slow but positive progress is being made in tetraplegia surgery service in Hungary.