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The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that send signals from the spine to shoulder, arm and hand. A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord. Some brachial plexus injuries are minor and will completely recover in several weeks. Other injuries are severe enough and could cause some permanent disability in the arm.
HOW IS BRACHIAL PLEXUS DIAGNOSED?
The physician performs examinations of the arm and hands to check the strength of muscles and presence of feeling in different areas. Testing, such as MRI scans, CT scan/myelography may be recommended. A Nerve Conduction Study/Electromyogram (NCS/EMG) is also recommended to measure the electrical activity transmitted by nerves and muscles.
HOW IS BRACHIAL PLEXUS TREATED?
Treatment depends on several factors including the severity of the injury, the type of injury, the length of time since the injury and other existing conditions. Surgical repair is often required for nerves in severe cases. Surgery to repair brachial plexus nerves should generally occur within six to seven months after the injury. The types of surgery are nerve transfer, nerve graft and muscle transfer. Painkillers are prescribed to control the pain.
DID YOU KNOW?
Too much of pressure, twisting or stretching can sometimes cause an injury to this bunch of nerves.