Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Brachial Plexopathies

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Brachial Plexopathies"— Presentation transcript:

1 Brachial Plexopathies
William McKinley, MD Associate Professor Department of PM&R

2 Incidence & Prevalence
10% of all peripheral nervous system lesions involve brachial plexus 14% of upper extremity neurological disorders due to brachial plexopathy Bimodal Distribution –Obstetric: male/female 1:1, R>L –Age y/o males 2^MVA, knife/bullet wounds - unilateral dominant limb

3 Etiologies Closed Open –Traction Injuries Neurovascular –Radiation Gunshot Wound –Tumor (1^2^) Laceration –Surgical Positioning Surgical Trauma –Brachial Neuropathy Needles –Thoracic Outlet Syn. –Hematoma –Blunt trauma/Fx’s



6 BP Anatomy Anatomy –Ventral Rami C5-T1 –Prefixed (C4) or Postfixed (T2) –RTDCB, “Palindrome” (53635) –Preganglionic vs postganglionic –Supraclavicular (roots & trunks) vs Infraclavicular (cords & branches) –cords are named (lateral, posterior, medial) by their relationship to the axillary art. –Lateral cord (C5, 6, 7), Medial cord (C8, T1), Posterior cord (C5, 6, 7, 8 & T1)


8 BP Injuries: Classification
Supraclavicular (roots & trunk) Root Avulsions Poor prognosis affects posterior primary rami (pasaspinal m’s) Sensory NCS potentials normal Proximal Root Nerve Lesion –Dorsal Scapular Nerve –Long Thoracic Nerve –Suprascapular Nerve

9 BP Injuries (cont.) Upper Trunk “Erb-Duchenne” –Most common BP Injury –Weakness at shoulder, EF, sensory loss C5-6 (Positioning: Add & IR) –Prognosis: Best –Causes: Trauma, Traction –Obstetrical –Brachial Neuropathy Lower Trunk “Dejurine-Klumpe” –Clinical: Horners –Metastatic Tumor, Pancoast Tumor

10 BP Injuries (cont.) Infraclavicular (Cords/Branches) Axillary Nerve
Shoulder dislocations Humeral neck fractures GSW or misplaced needles General anesthesia, neuralgic amyotrophy

11 BP Injuries (cont.) Musculocutaneous Nerve Radial Nerve
Anterior shoulder dislocation arm extension Weight lifting Malpositioning Neuralgic Amyotrophy Radial Nerve GSW or trauma to axilla Improper crutch fitting

12 BP Injuries (cont.) Median Nerve Ulnar Nerve
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) (NCS-ulnar, sensory, motor and median motor abnormalities) Panplexopthy –Causes: Trauma, Severe Traction –Metastasis/Radiation Prognosis: Poor

13 Mechanism of Injury Traction/Stretch - trauma, positioning
Contusion/compression - trauma, tumor Laceration - trauma, bullet, knife Ischemia - trauma, vascular



16 Preganglionic vs Postganglionic
Preganglionic = prox. to “sensory” dorsal root gang. (distal to “motor” ant. horn cell) Nerve Root Avulsion -Conn. Tissue Covers spinal nerve, traction force transferred to dura = root rupture! –Ventral roots move vulnerable - sensation often spared, motor lost –78% of BP result in some root avulsion –C8 and T1 are more susceptiple (lack c.t.) Root avulsion = Poor prognosis! Sensation lost... but sensory NCS is Normal Paraspinal M’s abnormal on EMG Positive “Axon reflex test”

17 Etiologies of Injury Closed trauma - MVA (motorcycle), back pack palsy, fractures (humerus, shoulder) Burners (“stingers”) - sports Birth Injuries –Supraclavicular –Occurring during L&D (not forceps) Perioperative –Etiology: traction and positioning –Primarily upper plexus –Good prognosis

18 Etiologies (cont.) Violence-related –Knife, bullets (Laceration or Concussion-neuropraxia) Primary tumors: usually benign (Schwannomas) Metastatic tumors –Lung and breast (also lymphoma and sarcoma) Lung (pancoast tumor - C8, T1, lymphadenopathy) •Radiation therapy –Greater than 6 but less than 24 months –Unlikely with less than 6000 R –Radiation plexopathy favors upper trunk. Mestatatic disease favors lower trunk

19 Neuralgic Amyotrophy Described by Parsonage & Turner in 1948
Characteristics: Acute onset of shoulder pain of a deep, stabbing, burning nature, aggravated by shoulder movement, muscles may be tender on exam. pain may radiate to the trapezius, arm, forearm or hand. Intense pain last up to 3 weeks and is then replaced by dull ache that may persist for months. Within 2 weeks the patients c/o weakness involving the painful limb- many associate pain subsiding as weakness begins. Muscle wasting occurs rapidly.

20 Neuralgic Amyotrophy Synonyms –Brachial Neuropathy/Plexitis/Neuritis/Plexopathy –Parsonage-Turner syndrome Incidence: 1.64 per 100,000 population Male: 2:1 Age of Onset: usually years (3 mo - 74 years reported)

21 Antecedent or Associated Illness: Roughly 45% patients –Serum Inoculation Sickness –Typhus, Variola, Diptheria, Influenza, Triple Vaccine & Tetanus Toxiod Weakness –Shoulder Girdle (C5, 6) - 50% –Single Peripheral Nerve - 10% •Radial LT, Axillary, SS, Phrenic

22 Senory Deficits: 67% –Axillary N and Lateral Antebrachial Cutaneous N
Bilateral: 33% (right 54%) Histopathology: wallerian degeneration from axonal loss Prognosis: Good

23 Natural History: Functional recovery 36% first year, 75% second year, 89% third year
Rehabilitation: no therapies effectively alter eventual outcome –Daily PROM is important to prevent contractions

24 Pathophysiology of BP Lesions
Neuropraxia: Conduction Block –Ischemic: short duration, recovery minute to hours –Demyelinative: physical damage to segment of myelin, necessitating remyelination. Denervation (axon loss) does not ensue; several weeks to months to recover –Good prognosis

25 Axonotmesis: Axonal Loss without “supporting” Structural (conn
Axonotmesis: Axonal Loss without “supporting” Structural (conn. tissue) Damage –Axon distal to injury site undergoes degeneration. –Restored function often occurs: nerve length and extent of damage are considerations to recovery

26 Neurotmesis: Axon Loss with supporting Structural Damage –Axon, Endoneurium, Perineurium, Epineurium destroyed. –Axons may regenerate along aberrant pathways, misdirection of motor and sensory nerves, scarring impedes nerve regrowth. –Poor prognosis


28 History & Physical Expertise in anatomy and functional anatomy prerequisite! Hx: mechanism of injury, change of sx, pain Observation: Horners synd (ptosis, myosis), winging of scapula, atrophy, skin changes Exam: motor, sensory, DTR, ROM, tinnels, vascular Additional studies: EMG/NCS, Xray

29 Differential Diagnosis
Peripheral nerve injuries Radiculopathies SCI




33 Radiologic (and other) Studies
Electromyography C-Spine, shoulder xrays MRI Myelography Axon reflex testing –Histamine “Triple response of Bonney” –Vasodilation, wheal, flare –NL in “preganglionic (poor prog) –ABNL in “post” (better prog)


35 Electrodiagnostic Eval of Brachial Plexus Injury
Summary –motor and sensory potential (esp amplitude) and needle EMG (PSW, Fibs) are most sensative indicators of axonal loss –Paraspinal EMG usually normal. Abnormalities indicate preganglonic injury (radiculopathy, SCI) –SSEP, F-waves and H-reflexes (LS Plexus) may be delayed or absent b/c depend on proximal conduction

36 –Poor Prognosis: preganglionic, panplexopathy
Conduction Block –Drop in CMAP amplitude exceeding 20% without temporal dispersion –Failure of afferent and efferent impulse propagation across affected site –Prognosis evaluation at appx 10 days to 2 weeks

37 –SNAP, CMAP, NCV, EMG should be normal –Decreased recruitment may be present with increasing force production Demyelination –Slowing of NCV 25-30% –Increased temporal dispersion

38 Axonal Loss –Wallerian degeneration ensues –Sensory loss evidenced by decreased amplitude or loss of potential, but preganglionic lesions, like radics, have preserved SNAP with sensory loss which has poor prognosis days SNAP’s disappear.

39 –Compound Motor Action Potential has decreased amplitude that precedes SNAP changes secondary to sensory nerve lack of NMJ, which disintegrates at 6-7 days. It is important to compare side amplitude difference. (>50% signifies axon loss)

40 –EMG Shows spontaneously depolarization evidenced by fibrillations and positive sharp waves that can occur at 7-10 days in muscles close to the injury and 4-6 weeks in muscles distal from lesion. Increased insertional activity and decreased recruitment also present. –NCS may be normal until late



43 Conservative Management
Strengthening, ROM Sling for protection and subluxation One-handed activities Complicated braces ( ? usefulness) Pain management (begin early, do not amputate, meds), stellate ganglion blocks Edema control

44 Psychological counseling
Vocational support

45 Surgical Treatment: Generalizations
No surgery for preganglionic injuries Surgical treatment in closed “total” (whole plexus) supraclavicular injuries Timing: 6-12 months Alternative: amputation plus arthrodesis plus prosthesis C8-T1 - defer to surgical reconstruction C5-7 - better prognosis, shoulder arthrodesis plus tendon transfer

46 Lumbosacral Plexopathy
Lumbar plexus L1-3(4) –Terminal nerves - femoral, obturator –Sensory loss: L1-3(4) –Weakness: hip flexors, knee extensors, hip adductors –Differentiate from femoral nerve injury (no hip adductor weakness)

47 Sacral plexus (L4-S2) –Terminal nerves - sciatic (tibial & peroneal), Gluteal (superior & inferior) –Differentiate from sciatic n injury (no hip abductor/extensor weakness) –May include anal sphincter muscles Etiology: pelvic injury, retroperitoneal hematoma, neoplasm, RT, traction, idiopathic

Download ppt "Brachial Plexopathies"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google