Brachial plexopathy

Alternative Names

Neuropathy – brachial plexus; Brachial plexus dysfunction; Parsonage Turner syndrome

Definition of Brachial plexopathy

Brachial plexopathy is pain, decreased movement, or decreased sensation in the arm and shoulder due to a nerve problem.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Brachial plexus dysfunction (brachial plexopathy) is a form of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to the brachial plexus, an area where a nerve bundle from the spinal cord splits into the individual arm nerves.

Signs and tests

An exam of the arm, hand and wrist can reveal a problem with the nerves of the brachial plexus. Signs may include:

Treatment

Treatment is aimed at correcting the underlying cause and allowing you to use your hand and arm as much as possible. In some cases, no treatment is required and recovery happens on its own.

Expectations (prognosis)

The likely outcome depends on the cause. A good recovery is possible if the cause is identified and properly treatment. In some cases, there may be a partial or complete loss of movement or sensation. Nerve pain may be severe and may persist for a long time.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/28/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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