The infrequency of serious nerve injury as a complication of a closed fracture or dislocation adds to the anxiety with which these lesions are properly regarded. Even in a busy fracture service the incidence of grave nerve injury is so comparatively low (table 1) that there is barely sufficient material on which to base a firm policy. Everyone knows that spontaneous recovery occurs more often than not, but this is of no comfort to the patient or to the surgeon when, as sometimes happens, the paralysis fails to clear up. If a purely expectant policy is pursued the most favorable time for operative intervention will always be missed; on the other hand, routine exploration is unjustifiable.
I think it would be useful to give an account of observations made at the Oxford Peripheral Nerve Injuries Centre over a period of six years. Over 2,500 nerve injuries of every kind have