Lumbosacral plexopathy in gunshot wounds and motor vehicle accidents: comparison of electrophysiologic findings

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Apr;80(4):280-285; quiz 286-8. doi: 10.1097/00002060-200104000-00010.


Objective: To characterize the differences between injuries to the lumbosacral (LS) plexus caused by gunshot wounds (GSW) and motor vehicle crashes (MVC) with regard to the location and extent of involvement.

Design: A retrospective review of electrophysiologic data from an electromyography laboratory of a county hospital. Nineteen patients with GSW and ten patients with MVC diagnosed by electromyography with an LS plexopathy were included in the study. Injuries were categorized by the number of anatomic quadrants of the LS plexus: upper anterior, upper posterior, lower anterior, and lower posterior. Comparison of upper vs. lower portions and bilaterality of LS plexus involvement was also made. Statistical analyses were performed with two-tailed Fisher's exact and general association tests.

Results: Lower portions of the plexus were involved more frequently in patients with MVC compared those observed in patients with GSW. Upper portions of the LS plexus were more involved compared with the lower portions in patients with GSW injuries. More sections of the plexus were involved in patients with MVC compared with those in patients with GSW.

Conclusions: Compared with patients with MVC, patients with GSW had a greater chance of involvement of the upper portion of the plexus. The reverse was true for the lower portion. Hopefully this information will aid the electromyographer and rehabilitation team in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic plexopathies caused by different etiologies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / complications
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / complications
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvis / injuries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / physiopathology*