Impairment and employment issues after nerve repair in the hand and forearm

PM Meiners*, JH Coert, PH Robinson, MF Meek

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose. To evaluate retrospectively subjective impairments, experienced disabilities, job and leisure restrictions and job changes in patients at least 2 years after repair of a peripheral nerve injury in the forearm, wrist or hand.

    Methods. Between January 1997 and January 2000, 125 patients were treated surgically for a peripheral nerve injury in the hand and forearm at the Department of Plastic Surgery of a University Hospital. Sixty-one patients met the inclusion criteria. Using a questionnaire the ability to return to work (RTW), the possible consequences on Activities of Daily Life (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Life (IADL), job, hobby and housekeeping related disabilities and subjective pain were assessed.

    Results. Forty of the 61 included patients returned the questionnaire. As a result of the injury, seven patients (19%) were not able to return to their own job and eight patients (20%) needed to quit or change their hobbies. Mean Time Off Work (TOW) was significantly longer (p = 0.024) in non-digital nerve lesions (21.4 weeks) as compared to digital nerve lesions (9.5 weeks).

    Conclusions. From this study it was concluded that digital nerve lesions have little consequence on the ability to return to work and the time off work. However, the patients' hobbies are significantly affected. At least 2 years after the injury, the effects on ADL and IADL are minor.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)617-623
    Number of pages7
    JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 3-Jun-2005


    • nerve injury
    • outcome
    • employment
    • ADL
    • SUTURE
    • RETURN

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