A prospective study was conducted to evaluate patient outcomes following sensory nerve transfer. Twenty patients with irreparable ulnar or median nerve lesions underwent the procedure. Nerve involvement was bilateral in 5 cases. The mean age of the patients at the time of surgery was 29 years. The mean paralysis time and the average length of follow-up were 59 and 78 months, respectively. Eighteen of 20 patients attended a sensory re-education program after surgery. Outcome was assessed objectively by functional sensory recovery testing and by the British Medical Research Council standards. Subjective outcome was assessed by a questionnaire. Two-point discrimination of less than 10 mm was achieved in 15 of 25 hands. The mean functional sensory recovery score was 83. Eighteen of 20 patients reported that the function of their hands improved after the procedure. Good or excellent results were associated with immediate transfer of the nerve, young age, and patients' attendance to the sensory re-education program after surgery. No differences were found between the recovery of ulnar and median nerves. Based on these results we suggest that sensory nerve transfer is a simple and reliable way of restoring sensibility to the hand with favorably comparable results over conventional nerve grafting in selected cases. (J Hand Surg 2001;26A:44-51. Copyright (C) 2001 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.).