Symptoms & Signs
- Horner syndrome – possibly caused by a lung tumor that presses on the nerve
- Numbness of the shoulder, arm, or hand
- Shoulder pain
- Tingling, burning, pain, or abnormal sensations (location depends on the area injured)
- Weakness of the arm, hand, or wrist
- Inability to extend or lift the wrist
- Hand weakness
Diagnosis & Tests
Age and gender are important because some plexus problems are more common in certain groups (for example, young men more often have inflammatory brachial plexus disease).
A neuromuscular examination of the arm, hand, and wrist will show a problem with the nerves of the brachial plexus. Arm reflexes may be abnormal. Specific muscle problems may indicate which portion of the brachial plexus has been damaged.
Deformities may develop in the arm or hand, and there may be profound loss of muscle mass (atrophy).
Tests that reveal brachial plexopathy may include:
- Nerve conduction test and electromyography
- Nerve biopsy
- Special MRI views of the brachial plexus
Review Date : 12/21/2009
Reviewed By : Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.