The prognostic factors that affect sensory nerve recovery after digital nerve repair are variable because of nonhomogeneous data, subjective tests, and different assessment/scoring methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the success of sensory nerve recovery after digital nerve repair and to investigate the prognostic factors in sensorial healing.
Ninety-six digital nerve repairs of 63 patients were retrospectively evaluated. All nerves were repaired with end-to-end neurorraphy. The static two-point discrimination (s2PD) and Semmes Weinstein monofilament (SWM) tests were performed to evaluate sensory recovery. The association between prognostic factors such as gender, age, involved digit, time from injury to repair, length of follow-up, smoking, concomitant injuries, type of injury, and sensory recovery results were assessed.
The s2PD test demonstrated excellent results in 26 nerves (27%), good results in 61 nerves (64%), and poor results in 9 nerves (9%). The results of the SWM test according to Imai classification showed that 31 nerves (32%) were normal, light touch was diminished in 38 nerves (40%), protective sensation was diminished in 17 nerves (18%), loss of protective sensation occurred in 5 nerves (5%), and 5 nerves (5%) were anesthetic. There was a negative relationship between age, smoking, concomitant injuries, and sensory recovery.
Our results demonstrate that concomitant tendon, bone and vascular injuries, older age, and smoking were associated with worse sensory nerve recovery results. However, all digital nerve injuries should be repaired, regardless of these prognostic factors.