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The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that sends signals from the central nervous system in the neck area to the shoulder, arm and hand. Injury to this group of nerves may range from mild stretching of the nerve to tearing away of the nerve root from the spinal column (nerve root avulsion). Injuries may occur either through the birthing process or through a traumatic accident.
The brachial plexus is a system of five nerve roots that exit from the spinal cord beginning with the C5 nerve root, which exits between the C4 and C5 vertebrae. The five nerve roots are known as C5, C6, C7, C8 and T1.
Nerve roots C5 and C6 make up the upper trunk (row) of the brachial plexus.
Nerve root C7 makes up the middle trunk (row) of the brachial plexus.
Nerve roots C8 and T1 make up the lower trunk (row) of the brachial plexus.
Neonatal brachial plexus palsy occurs in 1.5 per 1,000 live births. Less than half of infants with brachial plexus palsy have known risk factors. Known risk factors for neonatal brachial plexus palsy include:
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