A FEW YEARS AGO, 150 cases of median and ulnar nerve injuries below the elbow were reviewed at this hospital. It was concluded that a period of two to five years was required for the return of normal sensation to the hand in these injuries.
This stimulated the present study of the efficiency of nerve suture, and its ability to restore hand function, after a relatively short interval, under standard operative and postoperative conditions.
A total of 81 patients with 102 peripheral nerve injuries in 82 extremities, were cared for on the Hand Surgical Service of Cook County Hospital during a one-year period (Table 1). They were operated by surgeons with comparable training and experience, and followed in a single clinic with standardized postoperative care. These damaged nerves were repaired with 6-0 silk and immobilized for approximately three weeks in a manner to relieve tension on the anastomosis. Evaluations were