Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injury
Also known as: brachial plexus injury
What is traumatic brachial plexus injury?
The brachial plexus is a bundle/network of peripheral nerves located in the area of the neck and shoulder. The plexus, also known as a network, begins as 5 nerves in the neck, exiting the spinal cord and contributing to branches (peripheral nerves) that extend into the shoulder, arm, forearm and hand. These nerves transmit sensory information from and motor information to the arm and hand. An injury to the brachial plexus can cause a number of issues with the arms and hands.
What causes traumatic brachial plexus injury?
Injury to the brachial plexus can occur from a variety of causes. The nerves can be cut, stretched, crushed, or squeezed (compressed). The location of the brachial plexus increases its risk for injury. Stretch or impact of the neck, shoulder or arm can lead to injuries to the nerves of the brachial plexus.
Traumatic causes for brachial plexus injury include traction injuries (e.g., motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries) and penetrating injuries (e.g., stab wounds/gunshot wounds).
What are the symptoms of traumatic brachial plexus injury?
Loss of sensation, loss of movement, weakness, numbness, and pain are all potential symptoms of traumatic brachial plexus injury.
How can traumatic brachial plexus injury affect children?
Traumatic brachial plexus injury can be challenging for children, as it can further complicate the milestones of developing fine and gross motor skills that occur throughout childhood. It can also lead to problems with the arms and hands developing in a normal fashion.
What are traumatic brachial plexus injury treatments?
Milder cases of traumatic brachial plexus injury may heal on their own over time. For more severe injuries, surgery may be necessary to repair/reconstruct the injured nerves.
Reviewed by: Aaron Berger, MD
This page was last updated on: September 09, 2020 11:28 AM
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Nerves are the system of fibers that carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body. When an injury or damage occurs to one or many nerves, these are known as nerve injuries.
Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of peripheral nerves that originate in the neck region and branch off to various muscles of the arm to control movement and sensation in the shoulders, arm, forearm and hand. Injuries to the brachial plexus are most commonly seen in newborns during the process of child-birth. Other causes may include motor vehicle accidents or tumors that may affect the nerves.
Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction
When peripheral nerves are unable to heal on their own, surgery is typically required to free them from scar, or it may be performed to repair or reconstruct them. Reconstruction of injured nerves can be performed with grafts from another part of the body, or transfers from a working muscle to a non-functioning muscle.