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A Simple Guide To Brachial Nerve Injuries Diagnosis, Treatment And Related Conditions

69 pages44 minutes


The brachial plexus is a medical network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand.

Brachial plexus injuries are produced by injury to those nerves.

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that begin in the neck region.

It branches off to form most of the other nerves that control movement and sensation in the upper limbs such as the forearm, arm, shoulder and hand.

The radial, median, and ulnar nerves begin in the brachial plexus.

Causes of brachial plexus injury

Brachial plexus injuries can happen as a result of shoulder tumors, trauma, or inflammation.

A rare syndrome called Parsonage-Turner Syndrome or brachial plexitis causes inflammation of the brachial plexus with no obvious shoulder damage.

This syndrome can begin with severe shoulder or arm pain that is followed by numbness and weakness.

Brachial plexus injury (BPI) is a general term for various conditions that may damage function of the brachial plexus nerve network.

Most of pediatric and adult brachial plexus damages are due to trauma.

The most frequent risk factors are:

1. High-speed vehicular accidents, especially motorcycle accidents

2. Blunt trauma

3. Stab or gunshot wounds

4. Inflammatory processes (brachial plexitis)

5. Compression (for example caused by a growing tumor)

6. Neuropathies

A brachial plexus injury that occurs during birth is called birth related brachial plexus palsy obstetric brachial plexus palsy.

Obstetric brachial plexus palsy occurs in < 1% of live child births.

It is most frequent when there is difficulty delivering the baby's shoulder.

In infants, brachial plexus damages may happen during child birth if the baby's shoulder is stretched during passage in the birth canal

During delivery, the baby's shoulder may become impacted on the mother's pubic bone causing the brachial plexus nerves to tear or stretch (shoulder dystocia).

The outlook for recovery depends on the pattern, complexity, and severity of injury.

1. Erb's Palsy is an injury of the upper brachial plexus nerves leading to loss of motion around the shoulder and capability to flex the elbow.

2. Klumpke's palsy is an injury of the lower brachial plexus leading to loss of movement in the hand and wrist.

Types of brachial plexus injuries

Brachial plexus injuries are categorized according to the form of injury sustained by the nerve.

The following are the types of brachial plexus injuries:

1. Avulsion – this means the nerve has been pulled out from the spinal cord and has no chance to recover.

2. Rupture – this means the nerve has been extended and at least partially torn, but not at the spinal cord.

3. Neurapraxia – this means the nerve has been gently extended or compressed but is still attached (not torn) and has excellent prognosis for rapid recovery

4. Axonotemesis – this means the axons (equivalents of the copper filaments in an electric cable) have been severed.

The prognosis is moderate.



Chapter 1 Brachial Nerve Injury

Chapter 2 Causes

Chapter 3 Symptoms

Chapter 4 Diagnosis

Chapter 5 Treatment

Chapter 6 Prognosis

Chapter 7 Peripheral Neuropathy

Chapter 8 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


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