Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Clinic

The Upper Extremity (UE) rehabilitation clinic at Shepherd Center offers a comprehensive therapy and treatment program to improve upper-extremity function for people with catastrophic injuries who have limited function in their arms, wrists and hands. This clinic is available to Shepherd Center inpatients, day program patients and outpatients.

Specialized Rehabilitation Treatment

Loss of upper extremity function can be caused by a variety of injuries, and the Upper Extremity (UE) Clinic provides treatment specifically tailored to each patient’s condition. Our comprehensive program offers rehabilitation for people who are experiencing the following issues:

  • Brachial plexus injuries 
  • Orthopedic-related issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, overuse syndromes and trauma-related issues
  • Pain in the shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Spasticity and tone in the upper extremities
  • Stiffness, immobility or contractures in upper-extremity joints, resulting in limited functional performance
  • Tendon transfer restoration following paralysis

Who Qualifies for the UE Clinic?

The clinic is open to current and former Shepherd Center patients, as well as community members with a previously diagnosed neurologic injury. Each patient is evaluated by a team of rehabilitation professionals at Shepherd Center to determine the source of the upper-extremity dysfunction, and a plan is developed with the team. If a patient is determined appropriate, a course of aggressive therapy may follow. Surgical interventions are also considered, if deemed appropriate by the team.

Surgical Interventions

To ensure that each patient receives the best possible treatment, surgical intervention may be recommended depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Our team of highly skilled orthopedic surgeons offer the following procedures:

Brachial Plexus Surgery: Depending on the type and location of the brachial plexus injury, surgery may be recommended to repair the brachial plexus. Surgery may involve the removal of damaged nerves, nerve grafts or transferring a nerve from its original attachment to another nerve site, which then restores functional ability.

Tetraplegia Surgery: Tendon Transfer Surgery is a surgical option that is most commonly used to effectively restore arm, wrist and hand functions, such as wrist extension, grip and pinch. Surgery involves transferring a muscle with good strength from its original attachment to another muscle site, which then restores functional ability. Nerve transfers are a newer surgical option that can help improve the results of tendon transfers in select individuals. 

Surgery for Orthopedic Issues: The clinic also offers surgical options for other orthopedic-related issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, overuse syndromes, contractures and trauma-related issues.

Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Clinic Team

The UE Clinic team includes a variety of skilled professionals, including:

  • Allan Peljovich, M.D., MPHOrthopedic surgeon with specialized training with paralysis caused by tetraplegia, brain injury, brachial plexus injury and stroke
  • Douglas Murray, M.D.Orthopedic surgeon with specialized training in shoulder and elbow injuries
  • Bryce Gillespie, M.D.Hand and upper extremity surgeon
  • Occupational or Physical Therapist: Specialized training in upper-extremity rehabilitation
  • Nurse: Assists in coordinating surgery and post-operative needs
  • Case Manager: Coordinates care during the surgical and rehabilitation process

More Information

For more information on services available in the Upper Extremity Clinic, contact case manager Jana Candia at jana.candia@shepherd.org or 404-350-3102.