Reconstruction of the Tetraplegic Upper Extremity

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) resulting in Tetraplegia (quadriplegia) occurs most commonly in young, healthy individuals, who are in the prime of their lives and can occur in patients of all ages without discrimination of sex, social background, and/or ethnicity and race. The loss of functional use in the upper extremities is perhaps the most disabling of the numerous bodily functions impaired following a spinal cord injury.

In 1998, Dr. Nathan, along with Dr. Ann Vasile, a Long Beach Physiatrist with national expertise in the medical management of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and Tetraplegic patients, assembled a multidisciplinary team providing evaluation and surgical reconstruction for appropriate candidates. This team employed other SCI specialists, including occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, and nurse case managers, to best optimize SCI evaluation, treatment, and management.

For the past 20 years, the team has provided evaluations for more than 250 Tetraplegic patients referred from local, regional, and national institutions – many of which have benefited from various surgical reconstructions. Since the inception of this subspecialty service, Dr. Nathan has performed surgical reconstructions in over 100 patients including tendon transfers for elbow extension restoration, key pinch and grip reconstructions, contracture releases, tenodesis procedures, and arthrodesis.

Dr. Nathan also has experience in implantation of neuroprosthetic systems (Freehand®), which has proven extremely valuable in providing functional hand use in higher levels of SCI patients (levels C-5 and C-6).

For more information about the services we offer for spinal cord injuries resulting in Tetraplegia (quadriplegia), please contact our Center at (562) 424-9000.

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