Milliken PT publishes paper in Springer Nature’s publication

Nerve transfers are a surgical technique used to restore function in people with a nerve injury. The Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center is well known in the hand therapy world for its work with these patients due to their close relationship with the Washington University Physicians who are world-renowned for developing this type of reconstructive surgery. In the past 15 years, this surgery has been applied to individuals with cervical spinal cord injuries to help them regain some volitional movement in their hands. Following surgery, it is important for the patients to have adequate therapy to optimize outcomes. Lorna Kahn, PT, CHT has worked closely with Dr. Ida Fox for the past 15 years to develop such a program.  After 4 years of writing, submitting, editing, and reediting their paper was finally published this month in Springer Nature’s Spinal Cord Cases and Series. Read the paper here. 

The paper is a retrospective case series that reviews 9 individuals who had surgery and hand therapy at Washington University. A chart review was performed and data points that highlight the timing of recovery and the specific functional changes noted by the patients were gathered. Additional objective measures were included. The paper is designed to give therapists a general guideline for treating individuals who have had this surgery. The timeline for recovery is protracted and often both the individual and therapist discontinue treatment before the recovery is completed. We hope this paper will provide a framework for motor re-education after nerve transfers and improve outcomes for the patients.

New Nerve and Tendon Transfer Chapter

The third edition of ‘Orthotic Intervention for the Hand and Upper Extremity’ was published this year and is recently in print. New to this edition is a chapter devoted to nerve and tendon transfers. The editors reached out to therapists at Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center at Washington University to write this chapter given the national recognition this center has for treating patients who have had these procedures. In addition, Miliken’s therapists have spoken on the subject both nationally and globally and published peer-reviewed papers about nerve and tendon transfer rehabilitation.

The Surgeons at Washington University are known globally for their work in advancing peripheral nerve care. Patients come from across the country to be treated here and the surgeons rely on the hand therapists at the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center to develop post-operative nerve and tendon transfer rehabilitation treatment plans for the patients to take with them to their local therapists.

Lorna Kahn, PT, CHT, Macy Stonner, OTD, CHT and Anna Miller, MScOT, CHT co-authored this work. They collaborated over many months on both the written and visual content that enables any hand therapist to understand and replicate post-operative treatment programs in their own clinic. The text is a comprehensive, valuable resource for both the therapist and surgeon.

Learn more about our services at the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center.