Brachial Plexus Injuries Information Page

Brachial Plexus Injuries Information Page


What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports research on injuries to the nervous system such as brachial plexus injuries. Much of this research is aimed at finding ways to prevent and treat these disorders.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Brachial Plexus Injuries

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What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports research on injuries to the nervous system such as brachial plexus injuries. Much of this research is aimed at finding ways to prevent and treat these disorders.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Brachial Plexus Injuries

The NINDS conducts and supports research on injuries to the nervous system such as brachial plexus injuries. Much of this research is aimed at finding ways to prevent and treat these disorders.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Brachial Plexus Injuries

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Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.   Brachial plexus injuries can occur as a result of shoulder trauma, tumors, or inflammation.  There is a rare syndrome called Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, or brachial plexitis, which causes inflammation of the brachial plexus without any obvious shoulder injury.  This syndrome can begin with severe shoulder or arm pain followed by weakness and numbness. In infants, brachial plexus injuries may happen during birth if the baby’s shoulder is stretched during passage in the birth canal (see Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries).   

The severity of a brachial plexus injury is determined by the type of damage done to the nerves.  The most severe type,avulsion, is caused when the nerve root is severed or cut from the spinal cord.  There is also an incomplete form of avulsion in which part of the nerve is damaged and which leaves some opportunity for the nerve to slowly recover function.   Neuropraxia, or stretch injury, is the mildest type of injury   Neuropraxia damages the protective covering of the nerve, which causes problems with nerve signal conduction, but does not always damage the nerve underneath.

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Definition

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.   Brachial plexus injuries can occur as a result of shoulder trauma, tumors, or inflammation.  There is a rare syndrome called Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, or brachial plexitis, which causes inflammation of the brachial plexus without any obvious shoulder injury.  This syndrome can begin with severe shoulder or arm pain followed by weakness and numbness. In infants, brachial plexus injuries may happen during birth if the baby’s shoulder is stretched during passage in the birth canal (see Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries).   

The severity of a brachial plexus injury is determined by the type of damage done to the nerves.  The most severe type,avulsion, is caused when the nerve root is severed or cut from the spinal cord.  There is also an incomplete form of avulsion in which part of the nerve is damaged and which leaves some opportunity for the nerve to slowly recover function.   Neuropraxia, or stretch injury, is the mildest type of injury   Neuropraxia damages the protective covering of the nerve, which causes problems with nerve signal conduction, but does not always damage the nerve underneath.

Treatment
Treatment

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment for brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery.

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Treatment

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment for brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery.

Definition
Definition

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.   Brachial plexus injuries can occur as a result of shoulder trauma, tumors, or inflammation.  There is a rare syndrome called Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, or brachial plexitis, which causes inflammation of the brachial plexus without any obvious shoulder injury.  This syndrome can begin with severe shoulder or arm pain followed by weakness and numbness. In infants, brachial plexus injuries may happen during birth if the baby’s shoulder is stretched during passage in the birth canal (see Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries).   

The severity of a brachial plexus injury is determined by the type of damage done to the nerves.  The most severe type,avulsion, is caused when the nerve root is severed or cut from the spinal cord.  There is also an incomplete form of avulsion in which part of the nerve is damaged and which leaves some opportunity for the nerve to slowly recover function.   Neuropraxia, or stretch injury, is the mildest type of injury   Neuropraxia damages the protective covering of the nerve, which causes problems with nerve signal conduction, but does not always damage the nerve underneath.

Treatment
Treatment

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment for brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery.

Prognosis
Prognosis

The site and type of brachial plexus injury determines the prognosis. For avulsion and rupture injuries, there is no potential for recovery unless surgical reconnection is made in a timely manner. The potential for recovery varies for neuroma and neuropraxia injuries. Most individuals with neuropraxia injuries recover spontaneously with a 90-100% return of function.

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The site and type of brachial plexus injury determines the prognosis. For avulsion and rupture injuries, there is no potential for recovery unless surgical reconnection is made in a timely manner. The potential for recovery varies for neuroma and neuropraxia injuries. Most individuals with neuropraxia injuries recover spontaneously with a 90-100% return of function.

Prognosis
Prognosis

The site and type of brachial plexus injury determines the prognosis. For avulsion and rupture injuries, there is no potential for recovery unless surgical reconnection is made in a timely manner. The potential for recovery varies for neuroma and neuropraxia injuries. Most individuals with neuropraxia injuries recover spontaneously with a 90-100% return of function.

Definition

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.   Brachial plexus injuries can occur as a result of shoulder trauma, tumors, or inflammation.  There is a rare syndrome called Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, or brachial plexitis, which causes inflammation of the brachial plexus without any obvious shoulder injury.  This syndrome can begin with severe shoulder or arm pain followed by weakness and numbness. In infants, brachial plexus injuries may happen during birth if the baby’s shoulder is stretched during passage in the birth canal (see Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries).   

The severity of a brachial plexus injury is determined by the type of damage done to the nerves.  The most severe type,avulsion, is caused when the nerve root is severed or cut from the spinal cord.  There is also an incomplete form of avulsion in which part of the nerve is damaged and which leaves some opportunity for the nerve to slowly recover function.   Neuropraxia, or stretch injury, is the mildest type of injury   Neuropraxia damages the protective covering of the nerve, which causes problems with nerve signal conduction, but does not always damage the nerve underneath.

Treatment

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment for brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery.

Prognosis

The site and type of brachial plexus injury determines the prognosis. For avulsion and rupture injuries, there is no potential for recovery unless surgical reconnection is made in a timely manner. The potential for recovery varies for neuroma and neuropraxia injuries. Most individuals with neuropraxia injuries recover spontaneously with a 90-100% return of function.

What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports research on injuries to the nervous system such as brachial plexus injuries. Much of this research is aimed at finding ways to prevent and treat these disorders.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Brachial Plexus Injuries

Patient Organizations
National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
Administration for Community Living
330 C St., NW
Washington
DC
Washington, DC 20201
Tel: 202-401-4634; 202-245-7316 (TTY)
National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
8400 Corporate Drive
Suite 500
Landover
MD
Landover, MD 20785
Tel: 301-459-5900; 800-346-2742; 301-459-5984 (TTY)
United Brachial Plexus Network
1610 Kent Street
Kent
OH
Kent, OH 44240
Tel: 781-315-6161; 866-877-7004
Patient Organizations