Brachial Plexus Lesions

Brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from your spine to shoulder, arm and hand. It provides movement and sensation to these parts of the body. This network of nerves start in the spinal cord and branch out from the neck to the muscles and tissues down the arms. Five nerves constitute this network. Any injuries that occur to these nerves can be referred to as brachial plexus lesions.

Symptoms May Include

  • Paralysis of shoulder or arm
  • Pain, difficulty moving
  • Loss of sensation
  • Tingling, electric-shock or burning like sensation in the shoulder, arms or hands.
  • Weakness and numbness
  • Sudden vision problems
  • Inability to move shoulders, fingers or entire arm

CAUSES

  • Trauma- Motor cycle accidents, falls, bullet or knife wounds etc. can cause trauma.
  • Contact sports- Excessive nerve stretching may result from collisions during contact sports like football or wrestling.
  • During birth process- A difficult delivery can cause injury to brachial plexus in children
  • Movement of your head or neck with excess pressure may lead to stretching of your nerve muscles
  • Prachial plexitis can cause plexus inflammation

RISK FACTORS

Persons involving in contact sports, high speed road accidents
Difficult delivery
Maternal diabetics

TYPES

  • Avulsion– The nerve has been pulled out from its attachment at spinal cord. It is very hard to recover as it is the most severe type of brachial plexus injuries.
  • Rupture-Nerves are torn partially but not lost the spinal cord attachment.
  • Neuroma– It is a type of tumor that grows from the nerve endings. The formed tumor will put pressure on the injured nerve and interrupt the signal conduction by the nerve.
  • Neurapraxia– It means the nerve has been gently stretched and damaged but not torn.
  • Neurotenesis– Here the chance of recovery is very poor as entire nerve has been divided.

COMPLICATIONS

Erb’s Palsy is an injury of the upper brachial plexus, which can lead to loss of motion around your shoulder and will also affect your ability to flex the elbow.

Klumpke’s palsy refers to an injury of the lower brachial plexus. It can impair the motion in the wrist and hand.

The significant chance of loss of sensation and permanent disability are other major complications associated with brachial plexus injuries.