Surgical reconstruction of irreversible ulnar nerve paralysis in leprosy

Ozkan T., Ozer K., Yukse A., Gulgonen A.

LEPROSY REVIEW, vol.74, no.1, pp.53-62, 2003 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 74 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Journal Name: LEPROSY REVIEW
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.53-62
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


Twenty-five patients with irreversible leprotic ulnar nerve palsy having undergone lumbrical replacement with two different tendon transfer techniques were assessed 6-120 months after surgery. Nineteen patients were reconstructed with the flexor digitorum four-tail procedure (FDS-4T), and six with Zancolli's lasso procedure (ZLP). Mean paralysis times were 103 months for FDS-4T, and 68 months for ZLP. Mean age of the patients was 36 years (21-57). Grip strength measurements, improvement in active range of motion at the PIP joints, patients' ability to open and close their hands fully, as well as sequence of phalangeal flexion, were noted. Mean grip strength measurements during follow-up were 76% of the contralateral extremity in the FDS-4T group and 82% in the ZLP group. Comparison of the follow-up grip strength with the preoperative value revealed 1% improvement in the FDS-4T group and 20% in the ZLP group. Claw hand deformity was completely corrected in 12 patients in FDS-4T group, and in five patients in the ZLP group. Residual flexion contracture remained in five patients after surgery. Swan-neck deformity subsequently developed in seven fingers. Age, sex, mean follow-up and surgical technique did not relate statistically to the functional outcome. However, preoperative extensor lag of the PIP joint and mean paralysis time significantly affected the functional outcome. ZLP was found to be a more effective procedure in restoring grip strength, whereas FDS-4T was more effective in correcting claw hand deformity.