Brachial plexus injury usually occurs during motorcycle accidents in adults, and during the birthing process in children. It affects the functions of movement, growth and feeling of the arm. Numbness, paralysis and disturbances in growth can occur. When only stretching of the nerves is seen, there are chances that they would recover on their own. However, formation of the scar tissue is seen during the healing process. The surgeon removes it surgically for bringing about an improvement in the function of the nerves. Brachial plexus surgery is provided when the nerve is cut / torn or has significant surrounding scar tissue.
The plastic surgeon gives drugs containing opiates immediately after the surgery. Antidepressant and anticonvulsant medicines too can help. However, if the pain cannot be controlled by painkillers, you may require brachial plexus surgery. An experienced surgeon should be chosen in order to get positive outcomes from the surgery.
What Are the Types of Brachial Plexus Surgery?
- Nerve graft
In this procedure, the injured nerve is replaced with the sections of nerves that are taken from other body parts. This is the same as splicing a small new electric wire between two old wires.
- Nerve transfer
When the nerve is torn from the spinal cord, the less important nerve which is still attached to the spinal cord is taken and hooked to the nerve which is not attached. In some cases, the surgeons perform this technique at a level which is very close to the target muscle instead of doing a nerve graft far from the muscle. This definitely helps to speed up the recovery process. Slow nerve tissue growth is seen. Sometimes, it may grow 1 inch per month. During the recovery period, flexibility of the joints can be maintained with proper exercising. For keeping the hand from curling inwards, splints can be used. Since a risk of muscle atrophy is involved, one must undergo brachial plexus surgery within 3 to 6 months of the injury.
- Muscle transfer
This is a procedure in which the surgeon removes a less important tendon or a muscle from another part of the body. Then, he transfers it to the arm. This is very necessary if the arm muscles deteriorate.
The plastic surgeon would conduct a direct physical examination as well as EMG testing to find out the nature of the injury and offer the best options for treatment. MRI and CT scans are also useful. Multiple staged operations may be needed depending on the severity of the injury.
Brachial plexus injury is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions the may impair or badly affect the function of the brachial plexus nerve network. Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery based in Texas provides the latest cosmetic surgery procedures including rhinoplasty , facelift, chin augmentation, liposuction, abdominoplasty and more.