International Orthopaedics

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 1137–1141 | Cite as

Pectoralis minor transfer for elbow flexion restoration in late obstetric brachial plexus palsy

  • Vanessa Costil
  • Claudia Romana
  • Frank Fitoussi
Original Paper



Obstetric brachial plexus palsy (OBPP) may result in a severe impairment of upper limb function, especially when major motor functions do not recover with or without early microsurgical reconstruction. Various methods to restore elbow flexion have been described. The aim of this study was to report the results after pectoralis minor transfer for elbow flexion restoration in late OBPP.


Nineteen patients were included. Mean age at surgery was six years (range, 2.3–12.8). The mean follow-up period was four years (range, 1–15). Shoulder function was evaluated by the Mallet classification and hand function by the Raimondi scale. We used the “active movement scale” (AMS) to evaluate elbow flexion function.


Eighteen of the 19 patients had improvement in their elbow active flexion. There was significant improvement in biceps muscle power according to the BMRC grading system, from an average grading of 1.7 (range, 1–3) pre-operatively to 3 (range, 1–4) post-operatively (P < 0.05). The average active elbow flexion was significantly improved from a mean of 81° (range, 0–120; SD = 44) pre-operatively, most of them gravity eliminated, to a mean of 111° (range, 0–140; SD = 33) post-operatively (P < 0.05). According to the AMS, 12 patients (63%) had a good result, 4 (21%) a fair result and 5 (26%) a poor result. Poor results were significantly correlated with a low pre-operative AMS score (P < 0.05).


The pectoral minor transfer can be a reliable technique for elbow flexion improvement in late OBPP by strengthening an already existing but inadequate active flexion.

Level of evidence: IV


Obstetric brachial plexus palsy Elbow flexion Pectoralis minor transfer Active movement scale 



The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Costil
    • 1
  • Claudia Romana
    • 1
  • Frank Fitoussi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric Orthopaedic and Reconstructive SurgeryTrousseau HospitalParisFrance

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