Injury to the brachial plexus can reduce or destroy sensation or movement in the arm or hand. At the Peripheral Nerve Center at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, we treat brachial plexus injuries with procedures that include nerve repair, nerve graft and nerve transfer.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that link the spinal cord and the nerves of the arm. Injuries to the brachial plexus range from minor to severe.
Minor injuries usually do not require surgery. However, even minor injuries should be evaluated, as there are windows of time during which treatment for nerve injury is most effective.
Most people who are candidates for surgery have experienced severe nerve injuries called avulsions, ruptures and lacerations. A single serious trauma to the neck, arm and/or shoulder can deliver a combination of these injuries.
An avulsion is the most severe brachial plexus injury. In an avulsion, the nerve root is disconnected from the spinal cord, resulting in a partially or fully paralyzed arm. Though this is the most difficult type of peripheral nerve injury to treat, we perform several surgical techniques that may permit the recovery of useful function even after an avulsion. Ruptures and lacerations can also have devastating effects on nerve function, but many of these injuries can be repaired using the surgical treatments described below.
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