My Left Hand Sensory Nerves

Prior to my last meeting with the surgeon he had requested that the arm therapist complete a sensory evaluation test. The test is titled the SWMF (Semmes Weinstein Monofilament Test) and involves the therapist touching you hand with different diameter filaments that are not dissimilar to fishing line. Generally they start with a very fine filament and with your eyes shut you have to indicate when you feel the touch. Needless to say you start imagining things the longer it is between touches. The attached Youtube clip demonstrates the test.

Craig's Sensory Results

Craig’s Sensory Results

At each touch the therapist records when the touch is noted and if it is in the same spot that was touched. A colour coding system is used to note the level of sensation. The result is the attached diagram of my hands sensory pattern.

green (yellow on this diagram) indicates normal touch
blue – diminished light touch
purple – diminished protective sensation
red – loss of protective sensation

As you can see I have very little normal feeling in my left hand with a few spots of loss of protective feeling.

The worst loss of feeling is in my thumb and the first finger. Interestingly a few weeks back I was cooking and it was not to the next day I noticed a large blister on my first finger that was the result of a burn. I had not and never did feel the pain associated with the burn. It does mean you have to be incredible careful around heat.

The purpose of the sensory test was to establish if I needed a sensory nerve transfer in my hand. This will involve a sensory nerve from my little finger and index finger being moved to my thumb and first finger. The challenge will be that it when I touch things with my thumb and first finger my brain will be telling me it is my little and index finger. The brain will eventually adapt. A decision has yet to be made on whether this operation will be done. If it is it will be done at the same time as the tendon transfer.

About Craig Glass

I am a 58 years old. I am Senior Vice-Principal of Haileybury, Australia's largest private school. My passion outside of family and education is triathlon. I have raced over all distances with the highlight being completing the Ironman in 2011. Whilst training for my next Ironman I had an horrific accident which left me with a left brachial plexus injury.
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