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Measurement of outcomes of upper limb reconstructive surgery for tetraplegia.

Journal article
Authors K. Anne Sinnott
Jennifer A. Dunn
Johanna Wangdell
M. Elise Johanson
Andrew S. Hall
Marcel W. Post
Published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume 97
Issue 6
Pages S169-S181
ISSN 00039993
Publication year 2016
Published at
Pages S169-S181
Language en
Keywords Consensus, Quadriplegia, tetraplegia, Reconstructive surgical procedures, Rehabilitation, Tendon transfer, Upper extremity
Subject categories Surgery


© 2016 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.Reconstructive arm/hand surgery for tetraplegia is performed to improve arm/hand function and therefore personal well-being for individuals who accept such elective surgeries. However, changes at an impairment level do not always translate into functional or quality of life changes. Therefore, multiple outcome tools should be used that incorporate sufficient responsiveness to detect changes in arm/hand function, activity and participation, and quality of life of the individuals involved. This narrative review aims to assist clinicians to choose the most appropriate tools to assess the need for reconstructive surgery and to evaluate its outcomes. Our specific objectives are (1) to describe aspects to consider when choosing a measure and (2) to describe the measures advised by an international therapist consensus group established in 2007. All advised measures are appraised in terms of the underlying construct, administration, and clinical relevance to arm/hand reconstructions. Essentially there are currently no criterion standard measures to evaluate the consequences of reconstructive arm/hand surgery. However, with judicious use of available measures it is possible to ensure the questions asked or tasks completed are relevant to the surgical reconstruction(s) undertaken. Further work in this field is required. This would be best met by immediate collaboration between 2 outcome's tool developers and by analysis of pre- and postoperative data already held in various international sites, which would allow further evaluation of the measures already in use, or components thereof.

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