Forty-nine patients with 65 digital nerve injuries were randomized into two groups after nerve repair. Group 1 received early tactile stimulation and Group 2 was a control group. The patients were assessed prospectively for 6 months for recovery of functional sensibility. Tactile stimulation in Group 1 was provided from 3 weeks after nerve repair with a specially designed rotating tactile stimulator and a pocket tactile stimulator. Constant two-point discrimination, moving two-point discrimination, and cutaneous pressure threshold were measured and sensibility was graded with the Medical Research Council (UK) sensibility grading. At 6 months, 68.8% of patients in Group 1 had a Medical Research Council grading of S3+ or S4 sensibility compared with 36% in Group 2. With this prospective randomized study, the value of sensory reeducation in improving sensibility after digital nerve injury was confirmed. Starting tactile stimulation from the early postoperative period is recommended; however, use of the rotating tactile stimulator and pocket tactile stimulation need additional study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine