Treatment of peripheral nerve injuries in Syria's war victims: Experience from a Northern Israeli hospital

Sorin Daniel Iordache, Albert Gorski, Marwa Nahas, Lior Feintuch, Nimrod Rahamimov, Tal Frenkel Rutenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: The collapse of the Syrian healthcare system during the civil war led numerous citizens to cross the Syrian-Israeli border to seek medical care. Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of peripheral nerve injuries (PNIs) sustained in war, their management, and short-term outcomes. Methods: A retrospective case series study was conducted on 45 consecutive patients aged 25.7 ± 9.3 years. These patients were referred to the hand surgery unit of the department of orthopedic surgery and traumatology at Galilee Medical Center between December 2014 and June 2018. Median time between injury and presentation was 60 days. Injury pattern, additional injuries, surgical findings and management, complications, and length of hospital stay were extracted from medical records. Results: Most injuries were blast (55.6%) followed by gunshot injuries (37.8%). There were 9 brachial plexus injuries, 9 sciatic nerve injuries, and 38 PNIs distal to the plexus: specifically 20 ulnar, 11 median, and 7 radial nerve injuries. In the latter group, neurotmesis or axonotmesis was found in 29 nerves. Coaptation was possible in 21 nerves necessitating cable grafting in 19. A tendon transfer was performed for 13 peripheral nerves, occasionally supplementing the nerve repair. The patients returned to their country after discharge, average follow-up was 53.6 ± 49.6 days. Conclusions: For nerve injuries sustained in war, early surgical treatment providing adequate soft tissue conditions is recommended. Tendon transfers are useful to regain early function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Israel Medical Association. All rights reserved.


  • Nerve lesion
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Syrian refugees
  • Upper extremity trauma
  • War surgery


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