Brachial plexus injury

(Redirected from Brachial plexopathy)


Brachial plexus surrounding the brachial artery.
Anatomical illustration of the brachial plexus with areas of roots, trunks, divisions and cords marked.
Nerve roots that supply sensation to the upper extremities.
  • Injuries can be penetrating, compression, or closed traction:
    • Supraclavicular (roots and trunks)
    • Infraclavicular (cords and terminal nerves)

Causes of Brachial plexopathy


  • Roots:
    • C5
    • C6
    • C7
    • C8
    • T1
  • Trunks:
    • Upper
    • Middle
    • Lower
  • Cords:
    • Lateral
    • Posterior
    • Medial
  • Terminal Nerves:
    • Musculocutaneous
    • Median
    • Axillary
    • Radial
    • Ulnar

Clinical Features

Simulated mechanism of injury.
  • Arm pain (constant, burning)
  • C5 injury:
    • weakness of deltoid and infraspinatus causes adducted, internally rotated shoulder
  • C6 injury:
    • weakness of biceps causes elbow extension
  • C7 injury:
    • weakness of extensor muscles causes wrist and digit flexion

Differential Diagnosis

Shoulder and Upper Arm Diagnoses



Refered pain & non-orthopedic causes:

Upper extremity peripheral nerve syndromes

Median Nerve Syndromes

Ulnar Nerve Syndromes

Radial Nerve Syndromes

Proximal Neuropathies



  • Clinically evaluate for concurrent phrenic nerve injury and diaphragmatic paresis
  • MRI
  • CT myelography
  • EMG
  • Surgical exploration


  • Early neurosurgical consultation
  • PT / OT


See Also

External Links


  1. Tintinalli. Emergency Medicine. 7th Edition, 2011.