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Brachial Plexus Injuries

The Brachial Plexus

Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the muscles of the shoulder, arm and hand. The brachial plexus runs from the neck, under the collar bone, and into the arm to provide both movement and sensation.

When an injury strikes this region or pulls the head away from the shoulder, these nerves can suffer damage.


Mild brachial plexus injuries result in tingling and weakness in the arm. This will generally go away on its own.

Numbness and paralysis in the arm and / or hand signifies a more severe brachial plexus injury. In these cases, it is important to determine whether the injury will recover with time, or if surgery will be required in order to restore movement to the arm.

Our expert team provides a comprehensive approach in the diagnosis and management of severe brachial plexus injuries.


In the event of a brachial plexus injury, our team uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to:

  • Localize the injury
  • Determine if there are ruptures
  • Determine if there are avulsions (separations or detachments)

Further confirmation of the type of injury and prediction of potential for recovery can be provided by neurophysiological studies, including electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS).

Using the information gathered from these tests, our physicians will develop a comprehensive plan to best restore movement to you arm as quickly and as safely as possible. This may involve:

  • Surgery
  • Pain control techniques
  • Therapy

The earlier you are seen following an injury, the more treatment options are available to improve function.