Decision for reconstructive interventions of the upper limb in individuals with tetraplegia: the effect of treatment characteristics

Govert J. Snoek, Janine Astrid van Til, Paul F.M. Krabbe, Maarten Joost IJzerman

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Objective: To determine the effect of treatment characteristics on the decision for reconstructive interventions for the upper extremities (UE) in subjects with tetraplegia. - Setting: Seven specialized spinal cord injury centres in the Netherlands. - Method: Treatment characteristics for UE reconstructive interventions were determined. Conjoint analysis (CA) was used to determine the contribution and the relative importance of the treatment characteristics on the decision for therapy. Therefore, a number of different treatment scenarios using these characteristics were established. Different pairs of scenarios were presented to subjects who were asked to choose the preferred scenario of each set. - Results: forty nine subjects with tetraplegia with a stable C5, C6 or C7 lesion were selected. All treatment characteristics significantly influenced the choice for treatment. Relative importance of treatment characteristics were: intervention type (surgery or surgery with FES implant) 13%, number of operations 15%, in patient rehabilitation period 22%, ambulant rehabilitation period 9%, complication rate 15%, improvement of elbow function 10%, improvement of hand function 15%. In deciding for therapy 40% of the subjects focused on one characteristic. - Conclusion: CA is applicable in Spinal Cord Injury medicine to study the effect of health outcomes and non-health outcomes on the decision for treatment. Non-health outcomes which relate to the intensity of treatment are equally important or even more important than functional outcome in the decision for reconstructive UE surgery in subjects with tetraplegia.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)228-233
Number of pages6
JournalSpinal cord
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Decision Making
  • Tetraplegia
  • hand function
  • Conjoint analysis
  • METIS-248512
  • IR-76574
  • reconstructive hand surgery

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