Dr. Steven Rueda is one of the most sought after hand doctors for the treatment of tetraplegia in Palm Beach. Patients who sustained spinal cord injury suffer from decreased hand function that limits daily activities. The function of the hand is highly dependent on the level of spinal cord injury, with higher levels often leading to worse hand function. Surgery for tetraplegia has existed for many years and helped many patients improve their hand function. Awareness continues to increase in the tetraplegia community to visit the hand specialist as patients continue to achieve results that improve their lifestyle.
WHAT CAUSES TETRAPLEGIA?
Tetraplegia can result from many causes including birth defects, brain or spinal cord injury, stroke, and trauma among others. After prolonged therapy, some patients are able to recover neurologic function of their hand and upper extremity. Unfortunately, some are unable to regain some function and sensation. The latter usually seek treatment from a hand specialist.
Tendon transfers are the most common procedures used to treat tetraplegia. The type of procedure performed depends on the level of paralysis and those muscles that remain available to transfer their function to spastic or weak muscles. The higher the level of injury, the more limited the options are to regain full hand function. On the other hand, the lower the level of paralysis the more options are available to replace weak functioning muscles.
Tendon transfer is a procedure in which a tendon with good function and strength is moved to another tendon that is weak or has no function. In tetraplegia, the tendons are transferred to muscles that are weak to regain previously lost functions. In some other cases, spastic muscles are also treated with tendon transfers or lengthening to prevent them from overpowering residual limb function that other muscles provide.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It is important that patients have achieved a plateau of neurologic recovery after their initial injury. If no recovery is seen the idea of surgery can then be studied. Procedures for tetraplegia are goal directed and need patients who are very well motivated, have some residual voluntary control of forearm and hand muscles, and who are able to commit to prolonged therapy. They also must be in good medical condition to perform the procedure under general anesthesia or sedation.