Introduction: Traumatic brachial plexus injury (TBPI) is a debilitating and devastating injury that significantly impacts individuals’ quality of life. This study aimed to evaluate the functional outcomes, pain improvement and quality of life after external neurolysis surgery in TBPI patients.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted at Dr Soetomo Hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia. Data of TBPI patients who were operated with external neurolysis surgery from 2003 to 2020 were collected. The functional outcome was measured using disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) score, the pain assessment with pain visual analog score (VAS) and the quality of life with 36-item short-form (SF-36). The outcomes were also compared between those who had the surgery less or more than 6 months after the injury.
Results: A total of 493 TBPI patients were diagnosed between 2003 to 2020. Out of total, 37 patients had external neurolysis surgery, mean age of 31±12.5 years, were included in the analysis. External neurolysis surgery in TBPI patients improved all DASH, VAS and SF-36 scores and these improvements were likely influenced by sex, age, occupation, affected side and the level of the injury. In addition, our data also suggested that the patients who had external neurolysis surgery before 6 months had better outcomes than those after 6 months after the injury in term of DASH, VAS and SF-36 scores.
Conclusion: In TBPI cases, earlier external neurolysis surgery could result in better pain reduction, functional outcome and quality of life outcomes.