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Repair of brachial plexus injury

Carrying out advanced surgical treatment for brachial plexus injuries

About

This procedure aims to reattach or repair one of of your brachial plexus nerves.

The brachial plexus is a group of five nerves stemming from the spinal cord in the neck. It connects the brain and spinal cord to nerves in the shoulder and arms, allowing movement and sensation. You have one brachial plexus serving each side of the body.

Brachial plexus injuries happen when the arm is forcefully pulled or stretched in the opposite direction to the limb. Falls, motorbike and car accidents and wounds caused by weapons can cause these injuries.

A brachial plexus injury in adults may involve each individual root and can result in:

- avulsion — the root is torn from the spinal cord
- rupture — a tear at root level
- tear — the nerve is ruptured inside

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Treatment depends on the type of injury and how recently it happened — nerve attachment is more likely to succeed hours after the injury. The procedure happens under general anasethetic. A cut is made above the collarbone, to access the nerves. Depending on the type of injury, your surgeon will perform one of the following procedures: - Nerve repair. The two edges of a severed nerve are reattached. This kind of surgery is performed immediately, usually after a trauma. - Nerve graft. A healthy nerve from another part of the body is used to hold a lacerated nerve together. The nerve fibres should grow and reconnect to the muscle.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure and answer any questions you might have. Because general anaesthetic is used during the procedure, you may need to fast for several hours before the operation. Your consultant will tell you how long you should avoid eating and drinking. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Nerve regrowth takes time, so you may not feel results for a few months after surgery. Physical therapy will play a key role in your recovery. As you recover, a physio will help you exercise your shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers to prevent stiffness and to strengthen the muscles. It's important to follow these exercises so that you make steady progress. The physio will also show you the best way to carry out activities such as eating and bathing with a less functional arm. You may also need to wear a splint to help support your arm and take painkilling medicine.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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