Brachial plexopathies: classification, causes, and consequences

Muscle Nerve. 2004 Nov;30(5):547-68. doi: 10.1002/mus.20131.


The brachial plexus, which is the most complex structure of the peripheral nervous system, supplies most of the upper extremity and shoulder. The high incidence of brachial plexopathies reflects its vulnerability to trauma and the tendency of disorders involving adjacent structures to affect it secondarily. The combination of anatomic, pathophysiologic, and neuromuscular knowledge with detailed clinical and ancillary study evaluations provides diagnostic and prognostic information that is important to clinical management. Since most brachial plexus disorders do not involve the entire brachial plexus but, rather, show a regional predilection, a regional approach to assessment of plexopathies is necessary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brachial Plexus / anatomy & histology
  • Brachial Plexus / blood supply
  • Brachial Plexus / physiopathology*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / classification*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / complications
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / etiology*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Humans