The contralateral long thoracic nerve as a donor for upper brachial plexus neurotization procedures: Cadaveric feasibility study - Laboratory investigation

R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali Mohajel Shoja, Ghaffar Shokouhi, John C. Wellons, W. Jerry Oakes, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Object. Various donor nerves, including the ipsilateral long thoracic nerve (LTN), have been used for brachial plexus neurotization procedures. Neurotization to proximal branches of the brachial plexus using the contralateral long thoracic nerve (LTN) has, to the authors' knowledge, not been previously explored. Methods. In an attempt to identify an additional nerve donor candidate for proximal brachial plexus neurotization, the authors dissected the LTN in 8 adult human cadavers. The nerve was transected at its distal termination and then passed deep to the clavicle and axillary neurovascular bundle. This passed segment of nerve was then tunneled subcutaneously and contralaterally across the neck to a supra- and infraclavicular exposure of the suprascapular and musculocutaneous nerves. Measurements were made of the length and diameter of the LTN. Results. All specimens were found to have a LTN that could be brought to the aforementioned contralateral nerves. Neural connections remained tension free with left and right neck rotation of ∼ 45°. The mean length of the LTN was 22 cm with a range of 18-27 cm. The overall mean diameter of this nerve was 3.0 mm. No gross evidence of injury to surrounding neurovascular structures was identified in any specimen. Conclusions. Based on the results of this cadaveric study, the use of the contralateral LTN may be considered for neurotization of the proximal musculocutaneous and suprascapular nerves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-753
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Brachial plexus
  • Neurotization
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery

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