In the United States, more than 100,000 Americans live with the disability of tetraplegia. These individuals must struggle through long and complicated rehabilitations. Upper-extremity reconstructive surgery can improve use of the upper limb for appropriate candidates; however, a prior national study showed that these procedures rarely are performed. This cross-sectional survey identified the attitudes and beliefs of people with tetraplegia that may dissuade potential candidates from receiving these procedures.An oral survey was designed to determine priorities of reconstruction in individuals with tetraplegia. This survey was administered to 50 people with tetraplegia.Among those surveyed, 13 (26%) had never heard of upper-extremity reconstructive surgery, but 22 (44%) were interested in upper-extremity reconstruction. People with tetraplegia who had a negative first impression of these procedures were far less likely to want reconstruction 0 (0%) vs. 11 (45%). Of patients who learned about these procedures from their physicians, 10 (67%) had a negative first impression after the physician consultation.Although many people with tetraplegia understand the benefits of upper-extremity reconstruction, a large number of them are unaware of or have unfavorable attitudes toward these procedures. These negative attitudes may account for the marked underuse of upper-extremity reconstructive procedures in the United States.
View details for PubMedID 17398358