Irreparable Radial Nerve Palsy Due to Delayed Diagnostic Management of a Giant Lipoma at the Proximal Forearm Resulting in a Triple Tendon Transfer Procedure: Case report and Brief Review of Literature

Ingo Schmidt, * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Orthopaedics Journal 21 Aug 2017 CASE REPORT DOI: 10.2174/1874325001711010794



Non-traumatic radial nerve palsy (RNP) caused by local tumors is a rare and uncommon entity.


A 62-year-old female presented with a left non-traumatic RNP, initially starting with weakness only. It was caused by a benign giant lipoma at the proximal forearm that was misdiagnosed over a period of 2 years. The slowly growth of the tumor led to an irreparable overstretching-related partial nerve disruption. For functional recovery of the patient, a triple tendon transfer procedure had to be performed.


Four months after surgery, the patient was completely able to perform her activities of daily living again. At the 10-months follow-up, strength of wrist extension, thumb's extension and abduction, and long fingers II-V extension had all improved to grade 4 in Medical Research Council scale (0-5). In order to restore motion, the patient reported that she would undergo the same triple tendon transfer procedure a second time where necessary. Due to the initially misdiagnosed tumor, there was an overall delayed duration of time for functional recovery of the patient.


The triple tendon transfer procedure offers a useful and reliable method to restore functionality for patients sustaining irreparable RNP. However, it must be noted critically with our patient that this procedure probably would have been avoided. Initially, there was weakness only by entrapment of the radial nerve. RNP caused by local tumors are uncommon but known from the literature, and so it should be considered generally in differential diagnosis of non-traumatic RNP.

Keywords: Elbow joint, Radial nerve, Giant lipoma, Radial nerve palsy, Neurotmesis, Functional recovery, Triple tendon transfer.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub