Changes in skills required for using a manual wheelchair after reconstructive hand surgery in tetraplegia
Ann-Sofi Lamberg, Jan Fridén
Objective: The aim of this study was to document prospectively the changes in function that can affect the skills required to use a manual wheelchair after reconstructive hand and arm surgery in individuals with tetraplegia.
Design: Case series. The tests were conducted preoperatively and 12 months postoperatively.
Patients: Sixteen individuals who underwent a total of 23 grip/elbow extension reconstructions and who used a manual wheelchair as their main form of transport were included.
Methods: Functional tests of wheelchair control were performed. The tests addressed 8 aspects of manoeuvring a wheelchair.
Results: Sixty-eight percent of the individuals improved their manoeuvring skills after hand surgery. Improvements were also observed in the ability successfully to perform tests that were impossible to perform before surgery. The type of reconstruction and level of injury affected the outcome.
Conclusion: The improvement in wheelchair propulsion ability after reconstructive hand and arm surgery in individuals with tetraplegic spinal cord injury implies increased mobility, which can help individuals to live a more active life.
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