Purpose of the Review:
Traumatic brachial plexus injuries (BPI) are devastating life-altering events, with pervasive detrimental effects on a patient's physical, psychosocial, mental, and financial well-being. This review provides an understanding of the clinical evaluation, surgical indications, and available reconstructive options to allow for the best possible functional outcomes for patients with BPI.
The successful management of patients with BPI requires a multidisciplinary team approach including peripheral nerve surgeons, neurology, hand therapy, physical therapy, pain management, social work, and mental health. The initial diagnosis includes a detailed history, comprehensive physical examination, and critical review of imaging and electrodiagnostic studies. Surgical reconstruction depends on the timing of presentation and specific injury pattern. A full spectrum of techniques including neurolysis, nerve grafting, nerve transfers, free functional muscle transfers, tendon transfers, and joint arthrodesis are utilized.
Despite the devastating nature of BPI injuries, comprehensive care within a multidisciplinary team, open and practical discussions with patients about realistic expectations, and thoughtful reconstructive planning can provide patients with meaningful recovery.