Brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries prevent the nerves from carrying signals between the brain and muscles. Over time, the muscles can become weak and lose function.
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that begin in the spinal cord of the neck and travel to the shoulder and down the arm to the wrist and hand. These nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system, which includes the motor and sensory nerves that connect the spinal cord and brain to the rest of the body.
These nerves can be damaged when they are stretched, pinched or cut. The most common conditions are:
Other conditions that affect the peripheral nervous system and can cause problems with movement include:
Symptoms of Brachial Plexus & Peripheral Nerve Injuries
The extent of the damage caused by nerve injury to the brachial plexus and peripheral nerves can vary from minor to severe depending on the type of injury. Symptoms include:
Doctors at Riley at IU Health use different tests to diagnose a nerve injury to the brachial plexus or peripheral nerves.
These tests include:
Doctors use the test results and work with you to create the best care plan for your child’s specific condition.
The cause of your child’s brachial plexus or peripheral nerve injury will determine his or her treatment options. We use a multidisciplinary approach to treating these injuries. Our rehabilitation specialists collaborate with our neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons to determine the right care.
Whenever appropriate, we use physical therapy as first-line care. This is often the best treatment when nerves are stretched and they tend to heal with time.
If stretched nerves do not improve after nine months or they were cut, pinched or torn away from the spinal cord, further treatment may be necessary. Between 20 percent and 30 percent of these injuries require surgery.
Our goal is to restore function to the damaged nerves and muscles.
Surgical treatment options include:
Visit the following sites to find out more about how brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries are diagnosed and treated.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.