Long-Term Outcomes of Biceps Rerouting for Flexible Supination Contractures in Children With Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries

M. Claire Manske, Cory Pham, Sandra L. Taylor, Michelle A. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Forearm supination contractures occur in 7% of children with brachial plexus birth injuries (BPBI). Biceps rerouting is proposed when pronation has deteriorated but is passively correctable to at least 0° (neutral). The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate long-term outcomes of biceps rerouting for this indication, including magnitude and maintenance of correction, complications, and subsequent osteotomy. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all children with BPBI and forearm supination contractures treated with biceps rerouting alone, for the above indications, from 1993 to 2017 with at least 2 years follow-up. Demographic information, BPBI characteristics, surgical details, and ranges of motion were obtained from medical records. Pre- and postoperative active pronation (AP) and supination (AS), elbow flexion contracture, and arc of forearm rotation (Arc) were analyzed using linear mixed-effect models. Results: Twenty-five children (13 females; 13 left forearms; 15 global BPBI) underwent biceps rerouting at age 7 ± 3 years and were followed for 6 ± 3 years. Before surgery, the mean AP and AS were 6° ± 29° and 62° ± 27°, respectively. At the final follow-up, the mean AP, AS, and Arc were 39° ± 36°, 18° ± 34°, and 57° ± 42°, respectively. AP was significantly improved and AS was significantly decreased by 2 years after surgery and at the final follow-up. Neither Arc nor elbow flexion contracture changed significantly. Two of 25 (8%) children underwent subsequent forearm osteotomy. Conclusions: Biceps rerouting in children with BPBI improves the forearm position when pronation is deteriorating by shifting the arc from supination to pronation without decreasing the arc of motion or worsening elbow flexion contractures. There is a low risk of complications and a limited need for subsequent forearm osteotomy. These results are maintained over time. When performed before passive pronation is reduced beyond neutral, this procedure may prevent severe supination contractures and reduce the need for forearm osteotomy. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biceps rerouting
  • brachial plexus birth injury
  • forearm contracture
  • supination contracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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