Tetraplegia Hand Surgery

With more than 40 years of history and over 1000 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 2014 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, write 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

Carina Reinholdt

Senior Consultant & Head of the Hand Surgery Department, including the Centre for Advanced Reconstruction of Extremities

Johanna Wangdell

Senior Occupational Therapist

Therese Ramström

Senior Occupational Therapist

Lina Bunketorp Käll

Researcher & Specialist Physiotherapist

Johan Berg

Senior Consultant in Hand Surgery

Hannes Granberg

Specialist in Hand Surgery

Maria Pettersson

Operation Coordinator & Surgical Nurse

Alexandra Logothetis

Medical Secretary & Healthcare Administrator

Overview of treatment process

Grip reconstruction surgery

  • Team assessment: Team assessment with hand surgeon, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. 
  • Operation week: Surgery followed by 5 days of hospitalization, including rehabilitation with occupational therapist and physical therapist. 
  • Rehabilitation week: 5 days of hospitalization. Rehabilitation with occupational therapist and physical therapist.
  • Follow-up: Follow-up visit at C.A.R.E.

Other reconstructive hand surgeries in tetraplegia available at C.A.R.E.

  • Nerve transfer surgery
  • Spasticity surgery
  • Triceps reconstruction surgery