Severe trauma to the brachial plexus most often occurs in young adult men and is a crippling injury that requires management in a timely fashion for optimal functional recovery and pain control. The surgical management of such injuries is well established, and the techniques continue to evolve. Current management options consist of primary repair in the acute setting, neurolysis, neuroma resection and nerve grafting, motor and sensory nerve transfers, and muscle and tendon transfers. Shoulder and wrist fusion can also play a role in the overall management of these patients. The best operative plan varies depending on the patient's level and extent of injury and the surgeon's preference and experience. The pre- and postoperative care of these patients is ideally managed by a team that has experience with such problems, including personnel knowledgeable in their postoperative rehabilitation. The total reconstructive process generally consists of more than one operation, and the postoperative rehabilitation is long and intensive. Nevertheless, with a highly motivated patient and a dedicated and specialized surgical team, the prognosis for functional recovery is good, and these patients can still lead productive and satisfying lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-287
Number of pages19
JournalClinics in Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003


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