Health Topics

Brachial Plexus Injury

Brachial plexus diagram showing roots, trunks and divisions.

Look up information in the brachial plexus glossary.

The brachial plexus (BRAY-key-el PLEK-sis) is a network of nerves that provides movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm and hand. The nerves supporting the arm exit the spinal column high in the neck; those that support the hand and fingers exit lower in the neck.

This nerve complex is composed of four cervical nerve roots (C5-C8) and the first thoracic nerve root (T1). These roots combine to form three trunks. C5-C6 form the upper trunk, C7 continues as the middle trunk and C8-T1 form the lower trunk.

Each trunk splits into a division. Half the divisions globally supply flexor muscles (that lift and bend the arm). The others supply the extensor muscles (that straighten the arm and bring it down).

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Causes of Brachial Plexus Injury

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries

Risk Factors for Brachial Plexus Injury

Incidence of Brachial Plexus Injury

Conditions Related to Brachial Plexus Injuries

Brachial Plexus Surgery

Brachial Plexus Treatment and Rehabilitation

Long-term Outlook

Last Updated: 04/2012