Brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conduct signals to shoulder, arm and hand. Injuries to these nerves can have devastating consequences, including loss of function and chronic pain greatly affecting the movement, feeling and growth of the arm. Brachial plexus injury treatment restores the functioning of the upper arm by addressing the damage to the brachial plexus.
This injury usually occurs in severe road accidents, especially motor cycle accidents in adults and falls from heights. It can occur in newborns due to birth-related complications. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to muscle atrophy and loss of functionality on a permanent basis. The most common symptoms of this nerve injury are:
- Burning, sharp or severe pain
- Loss of sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and paralysis in the arm
- Neck pain
- Paralysis of some or all of the muscles of the shoulder
- Tingling or other abnormal sensation in the shoulder, arm or hand
- Stiff joint
In Houston, there are skilled, reputable and experienced plastic surgeons providing effective treatment for this medical condition.
In case the injury is minor, you can opt for physical therapy. Mild injuries may get healed at times without any treatment depending on the degree of severity. Children suffering from these injuries since birth can recover by the time they reach three or four months of age. If there is no recovery or if the condition is complex then surgical treatment would be a viable option.
If the nerve damage is extensive, surgery may be recommended in order to restore the function of the arm. The options are:
- Nerve Graft – In this procedure, the functioning of the arm is restored by removing the damaged part of the nerve to reduce reinnervation time. The injured nerves are replaced with sections of nerves from other parts of the body and the defective gap between two ends of the damaged nerve is bridged.
- Nerve Transfer – When the nerve root is torn from the spinal cord, the surgeons may take the less important nerve which is still attached to the spinal cord and attach it to the nerve which is not attached to the spinal cord. In some cases, in order to speed up the recovery process, this technique is performed at a level close to the target muscle instead of doing a nerve graft far from the muscle. Sometimes a combination of nerve graft and transfer procedure is carried out when the nerves have been completely damaged
- Muscle Transfer In this procedure a less important tendon or a muscle along with its nerve and blood supply is removed from another part of the body by the surgeon. It is transferred to the damaged part to restore the function to the elbow, wrist and hand. This is necessary if the arm muscles become weakened.
The recovery rate of the treatment may depend upon the severity of the nerve injuries. Brachial plexus injury repair provides considerable relief by restoring the movement of the arms and hand. The surgeons may conduct a direct physical examination as well as an EMG, MRI and CT scans to identify the exact problem and determine the right treatment option. Make sure to consult a reputable plastic surgeon specialized in reconstructive procedures for optimal results. Surgery in a AAAASF accredited plastic surgery center will ensure safe, standardized techniques and procedures.