The brachial plexus is a network of nerves which originates in the neck and sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand. This network of nerves is responsible for the complete motor and sensory function of our upper limb. A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord.
Commonly such injuries are seen in young individuals after a road traffic accident. Babies sometimes sustain brachial plexus injuries during birth. Other conditions, such as inflammation or tumours, may affect the brachial plexus.
This is a debilitating injury which can cause partial to complete paralysis of the involved upper limb, and timely referral to a qualified plastic surgeon and proper surgery in the form of Nerve repair using grafts / distal nerve transfers can help the patient in attaining a functional upper limb and prevent permanent paralysis.