There are few large-volume studies on the repair of peripheral nerve lesions caused by gunshot wounds. In this study, the results of peripheral nerve repair are analyzed, and the factors influencing the outcome are investigated.
During a 40-year period, 2210 peripheral nerve lesions in 2106 patients who sustained gunshot injury were treated surgically in the Department of Neurosurgery. One thousand thirty-four patients had shrapnel injury, and 1072 patients had missile injury. Twelve peripheral nerves were included in this study, and all of them were repaired by direct suture, using nerve graft, or neurolysis. All patients underwent neurologic and electrophysiologic evaluations in the preoperative period and postoperatively at the end of the follow-up period. The mean time of follow-up was 2.6 years. Final outcome was based on the motor, sensory, and electrophysiologic recoveries, and a patient judgment scale.
Using the muscle grading scale, sensory grading scale, EMNG, and patient judgments, the maximal recovery was achieved in the subscapular nerve, but there were only 4 subscapular nerve lesions, which is not sufficient for a statistically significant outcome. Furthermore, the tibial, median, and femoral nerve lesions showed the best recovery rate, whereas the peroneal nerve, ulnar nerve, and brachial plexus lesions had the worst.
Type of the peripheral nerve, injury (repair) level, associated injuries, electrophysiologic findings, operation time, intraoperative findings, surgical techniques, and postoperative physical rehabilitation are the prognostic factors for peripheral nerve lesions due to gunshot wounds.