Importance: To develop a practical program in the early phase after nerve repair for more rapid return of function.
Objective: To investigate the effects of touch-observation and task-based mirror therapy on the sensorimotor outcomes of patients with nerve repair.
Design: An assessor-blinded study with a randomized controlled design.
Setting: University hospital.
Participants: We recruited 12 patients with median or ulnar nerve repair between the level of midpalm and elbow referred by the plastic surgeons.
Intervention: The patients were randomized into touch-observation and task-based mirror therapy or control groups, and both groups received training for 12 wk.
Outcomes and Measures: The Semmes–Weinstein monofilament (SWM) test, two-point discrimination test, Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT), Minnesota Manual Dexterity Test (MMDT), and pinch-holding-up activity test were assessed at pretreatment, immediately after treatment, and 12 wk after the last treatment.
Results: The experimental group showed greater improvements in the results of the pinch-holding-up activity test and the PPT Unilateral Pin Insertion, Bilateral Pin Insertion, and Assembly subtests. However, change on the SWM test revealed no significant difference between the two groups.
Conclusions and Relevance: Touch-observation and task-based mirror therapy is an effective but low-cost treatment protocol to optimize sensorimotor control and functional capability of the upper limb in patients with peripheral nerve injury.