The website uses technology that is probably not supported by your browser such as Internet Explorer 11. Some things may look strange or not work. We recommend that you switch to a modern browser instead
Skip to main content

Tetraplegia Hand Surgery

With more than 30 years of history and over 800 operations in the field of reconstructive hand surgery in tetraplegia, Sahlgrenska University Hospital has built up substantial expertise in assessing and treating paralyzed arm and hand muscles after spinal cord injuries.

The Center for Advanced Reconstuction of Extremities (C.A.R.E.) was founded in 2015 and is the only centre in Sweden for highly specialized reconstruction of extremities. As a patient you will be welcomed by a multiprofessional team at a modern unit combining both in- and outpatient care as well as premises for rehabilitation. C.A.R.E. is located at the Mölndal site of Sahlgrenska University Hospital. 

A spinal cord injury at the neck level with subsequent tetraplegia causes a dramatic life change. But restoration of functional capacity in arms and hands has the ability to improve quality of life as the patient becomes more independent. In surgical restoration, functioning muscles, tendons and nerves are moved from one part of the limb to where they are more useful, creating increased movement capacity in the arm or hand. For example, grip function in the hand can enable the patient to eat, dress on her/his own and drive a manual wheelchair. 

Persons with tetraplegia having sufficient remaining functioning muscles, which in practice means good elbow flexion strength, can usually achieve improved hand function through surgical reconstruction. The individual is the only one who knows exactly what performance goals need to be met for them to become more independent. It is therefore imperative to carefully investigate how the individual’s specific requests for functions and expectations of outcome match the given prerequisites for reaching these goals. 

Göran - a Sahlgrenska University Hospital C.A.R.E patient

Hand control before treatment

Hand control after treatment

Get to know the team

Agneta Lindblom 

Surgery Coordinator and Registered Nurse. Coordinates all contact between patients and the treatment team. 

Carina Reinholdt 

Senior consultant in Hand Surgery and Head of the Centre for Advanced Reconstruction of Extremities (C.A.R.E.) 

Johanna Wangdell 

Occupational therapist

Therese Ramström 

Occupational therapist 

Lina Bunketorp Käll 


Overview of treatment process

Grip reconstruction surgery 

1) Team assessment with hand surgeon, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. 

2) Operation week: Surgery, five days of hospitalization, including rehabilitation with occupational therapist and physical therapist. 

3) Rehabilitation week: five days of hospitalization. Rehabilitation with occupational therapist and physical therapist. 

4) Follow-up visit at C.A.R.E. 

Read more about other reconstructive tetra hand surgeries available at the Centre; 
Nerve transfer surgery
Spasticity surgery
Triceps reconstruction surgery 

Updated: 2021-10-20 09:34