The brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the shoulder that provides movement and sensory signals from the spinal cord that allow feeling of the shoulder, arm and hand. The nerves supporting the arm exit the spinal column high in the neck and the nerves that support the hands exit lower in the neck.
Brachial plexus injuries typically stem from trauma to the neck, which presents with pain, weakness and numbness in the arms and hands. A brachial plexus injury may result in incomplete sensory and motor function of the involved arm. Patients who have been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury may require surgery. For most patients, relief from the pain associated with brachial plexus injury is achieved at one or two years following surgery.
Treatment for brachial plexus and other complex nerve injuries often involves microsurgery. Microsurgery is the specialty of operating under a microscope with precise tools and materials that can not be viewed by the naked eye. Microsurgery procedures for nerve reconstruction includes neurolysis / nerve release, nerve repair, nerve grafts and nerve transfers. Specially trained surgeons use extremely precise customized instruments to reconnect and repair nerves.
Patients with complex nerve injuries may need a combination of procedures to achieve recovery of function.