RESEARCH ARTICLE


Comparing Functional Outcome of Triangle Tilt Surgery Performed Before Versus After Two Years of Age



Rahul K Nath*, Chandra Somasundaram , Faiz Mahmooduddin
Texas Nerve and Paralysis Institute, 6400 Fannin Street, Suite 2420, Houston, TX 77030, USA


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© Nath et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Texas Nerve and Paralysis Institute, 6400 Fannin Street, Suite 2420, Houston, TX 77030, USA; Tel: 1-713-592-9900; Fax: 1-713-592-9921; E-mail: drnath@drnathmedical.com


Abstract

Background:

Many patients each year who are born with obstetric brachial plexus injuries eventually do not achieve complete recovery. As a result of the primary nerve injuries, these patients will often develop bony deformities involving the shoulder joint as a secondary consequence. The triangle tilt surgery has been shown to be an effective procedure to correct these deformities and has been performed on patients ranging in age from less than a year old to adolescence. The purpose of this retrospective study is to compare outcomes of triangle tilt surgery performed on patients before the age of 2 years versus after 2 years of age to determine an optimal age to operate on these children.

Methods:

36 patients with deformities developed secondarily from the initial obstetric brachial plexus injury in this study were divided into 2 groups. Group 1, those who had undergone triangle tilt surgery at < 2 yrs of age (16 patients). Group 2, those who were operated at > 2 yrs of age (20 patients). Group 1 age range: 9 months to 23 months, average: 18 months. Group 2 age range: 26 months to 9 years, average: 6 years.

Results:

Significant differences were found between the 2 groups (0-2 yrs vs > 2yrs) in regards to overall changes (pre- to post-op) in Mallet score, external rotation score, hand-to-mouth score, and supination angle.

Discussion:

This study demonstrates that triangle tilt surgery had better outcomes on clinical functioning if performed before the age of 2 years, however, improvement in clinical functioning can still be achieved if the triangle tilt surgery is performed after the age of 2 years as well. A possible mechanism to explain this phenomenon is the increased potential for anatomical remodeling if the triangle tilt surgery is performed at a younger age, thereby leading to significant functional improvement.

Keywords: Triangle tilt surgery, obstetric brachial plexus injury, modified mallet score, supination angle.