Atypical sensory processing pattern following median or ulnar nerve injury - A case-control study

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Background: Due to brain plasticity a transection of a median or ulnar nerve results in profound changes in the somatosensory areas in the brain. The permanent sensory deprivation after a peripheral nerve injury might influence the interaction between all senses. The aim of the study was to investigate if a median and/or ulnar nerve injury gives rise to a changed sensory processing pattern. In addition we examined if age at injury, injured nerve or time since injury influence the sensory processing pattern. Methods: Fifty patients (40 men and 10 women, median age 43) operated due to a median and/or ulnar nerve injury were included. The patients completed the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile questionnaire, which includes a comprehensive characterization on how sensory information is processed and how an individual responds to multiple sensory modalities. AASP categorizes the results into four possible Quadrants of behavioral profiles (Q1-low registration, Q2-sensory seeking, Q3-sensory sensitivity and Q4-sensory avoiding). The results were compared to 209 healthy age and gender matched controls. Anova Matched Design was used for evaluation of differences between the patient group and the control group. Atypical sensory processing behavior was determined in relation to the normative distribution of the control group. Results: Significant difference was seen in Q1, low registration. 40% in the patient group scored atypically in this Quadrant compared to 16% of the controls. No correlation between atypical sensory processing pattern and age or time since injury was seen. Conclusion: A peripheral nerve injury entails altered sensory processing pattern with increased proportion of patients with low registration to sensory stimulus overall. Our results can guide us into more client centered rehabilitation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 19

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurology
  • Surgery


  • Injury
  • Median nerve
  • Sensory
  • Sensory profile
  • Ulnar nerve


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