Brachial plexus injury

Posted by jenn5423 @jenn5423, Mar 4 11:03am

Wanted to find out other people's opinion's on there situations regarding the brachial plexus injury.

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Hi @jenn5423. I'd like to invite @bionicwoman, @seathink, and @dleeowen to this discussion who have discussed their experiences with a brachial plexus injury on Connect. Each member has a different route to what caused their injury, but may be able to share some of their experiences with you.

@jenn5423, if you are comfortable sharing, would you be willing to tell a bit more about what caused your injury and how you have currently been managing it?


Hi Jenn, I had/have radiation induced brachial plexus neuropathy so my experience may differ from yours, but happy to share.

Symptoms came on very fast, extreme weakness, volume of arm reduced by 15% over a couple months, total numbness/pins & needles, loss of finger sensation and ability to write or do any fine motor skills.

Brain/shoulder MRI and EMG showed the damage, a now very rare side effect from chest radiation (35 rounds the year before).

Luckily I was still seeing my cancer team and my radiologist at UCLA took point, basically throwing everything at it. I took steroids, Trental and high dose Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Occupational Therapy, and I was still doing PT for my surgeries,and my PT had had a patient once with my type of case.

We were also able to oxygen therapy at the Hyperbaric Chamber at UCLA. It took finessing for the insurance company and a denial, but since it was linked to the radiation my radiologist and the docs at the chamber got me in for 40 rounds. That was a long shot but worked for me. Today I can lift/write/do fine motor skills, and some feeling has returned to my fingers. Some of my arm still feels numb/tingling but it's nothing like it was.

The one thing I don't know about is if the reversal is permanent or not, but it's been a year and a half so far.

Hope this is helpful.


Mine came on through a winding path of surgeries. I fell twice (once broke my clavicle and one broke my humerous bone). I wound up in an emergency room in St. Paul, waited for a week for treatment. The first surgeon put a plate and screws in my clavicle to help it heal correctly, the second surgeon, after a 7 day wait in the emergency ward of the same hospital, did a reverse shoulder surgery. I went back to a local nursing home for a month. Following that was several months of physical therapy, The only clue I was injured somehow came when the sling came off in a session of physical therapy. A lightning bolt went up my right arm (at least that is how it felt). I found out in post-surgery checkups by my shoulder surgeon that I had a damaged axillary nerve. A neurologist ran a EMG test. Axillary Palsy. I went to Mayo Clinic; and I was send home with brachial plexus disorder. Currently have had an MRI that I wanted a long time ago, it seems. Unfortunately, the implant for the shoulder made it almost impossible to read throughly, So I am getting another opinion next Monday on where I am. This is the back story to date. Lee

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