Atlas Institute's Expertise

When the brachial plexus becomes injured or impaired, patients may experience a variety of symptoms ranging from pain and discomfort, and electric shock-like feelings, to complete loss of movement or sensation. As this type of injury can temporarily or permanently affect a person’s ability to use part or all of the arm, it is critical to see a reconstructive hand surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment. The Atlas Institute proudly offers patients brachial plexus surgery in Denver.

Man making food in his kitchen

Signs and Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Injury

The signs and symptoms of brachial plexus and other complex neurologic trauma vary based on the area of injury and the amount of damage. When these nerves are not functioning optimally, patients may feel:

  • Burning sensations
  • Electric shock-like sensations that travel up or down their arm
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Pain

an inability to move their hand, wrist, or arm
These painful symptoms can often be debilitating if left untreated and typically only affect one side of the body.

What is the Brachial Plexus?

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord into the upper extremity down to the fingertips. It is commonly damaged from injuries to the neck or shoulder area during motor vehicle accidents or falls from great heights. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to reduce long-term complications and regain as much function as possible.

How is Brachial Plexus Surgery Diagnosed?

A brachial plexus injury can be diagnosed through a physical examination and tests that measure sensation and function. Our doctors may check the hand and arm for any signs of weakness or numbness. They may also use an ultrasound to look for any damage to the nerves.

Other diagnostic tests may include electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Pain control is also an important part of diagnosis as severe types of brachial plexus injuries can cause debilitating crushing sensations or constant burning.

It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any symptoms of a brachial plexus injury such as pain, numbness, or weakness in your arm or hand. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for reducing long-term complications from this type of injury.

Banner media

Causes of Brachial Plexus Injury

A brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves that run from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand are stretched, compressed, or in severe cases, torn apart. This type of injury can be caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Contact sports such as football and wrestling: contact sports can cause neurologic trauma in the upper extremity due to forceful impacts.
  • Car accidents: car accidents can stretch the nerves beyond their normal range.
  • Difficult childbirths: difficult childbirths can result in a stretched or torn brachial plexus if a baby’s shoulders get caught within the birth canal.
  • Inflammation: inflammation can put pressure on the nerves and cause them to not function properly
  • Tumors: tumors can compress the brachial plexus causing damage.

What are the Treatments for Brachial Plexus Surgery?

Treatment options for brachial plexus injury vary based on the degree of damage. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may order imaging tests to understand the extent of your injury which can range from nerve stretching to full nerve disruption. Early treatment is important to prevent permanent damage, even if the symptoms seem mild. In some cases, recovery can be achieved without medical intervention through physical therapy or rest. 

When Surgery is the Best Treatment Option

In some cases, surgery may be required to diagnose a brachial plexus injury. This involves exploring the area around the shoulder and neck to identify which nerves are affected. Surgery can also help restore movement in the affected area if necessary. Where surgery is needed, different methods may be used such as: 

  • Neurolysis
  • Nerve grafts
  • Peripheral nerve transfers
  • Microvascular muscle transfers
  • Tendon transfers
  • Joint fusions 

These treatments are tailored to each individual patient and require extensive expertise from specialists to achieve successful outcomes. It can take months or even years for full recovery so it's essential that you consult with one of our surgeons who will provide full education and create a personalized treatment plan for you.

Banner media
Office media
Office media
Office media
Office media
Office media

Why Choose Atlas Institute Peripheral Nerve Care for Your Brachial Plexus Surgery?

Atlas Institute Peripheral Nerve Care is the leading provider of brachial plexus surgery in Denver. Our team of experienced surgeons specializes in treating brachial plexus injuries and restoring sensation and motor function to the shoulder, arm, and hand. We use advanced microsurgery techniques to repair damaged nerves, muscles, and tendons. Our approach is tailored to each patient’s individual needs, ensuring the best possible outcome for their recovery. We also provide comprehensive pre-and post-operative care to ensure our patients are comfortable throughout their treatment journey. With Atlas Peripheral Nerve Care, you can be confident that you are receiving the highest quality care available for your brachial plexus injury.

Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at 303.788.6466.
Contact Us