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*
SRH Poliklinik Gera GmbH, Straße des Friedens 122, 07548 Gera, Germany

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© 2017 Ingo Schmidt.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the SRH Poliklinik Gera GmbH, Straße des Friedens 122, 07548 Gera, Germany; Tel: ?????????; E-mail:



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.