Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I was involved in a motorcycle accident six months ago. I was treated in the emergency room and hospitalized for two days. After I was released, I still had tremendous pain and loss of motion in my right arm. Come to find out, some of the nerves in my arm were pulled completely away. I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon next week. Is it too late for help?

Answer:

It's definitely not too late. Nerves can regenerate though it can take months to do so. If surgery is needed, the sooner you get treatment, the better your chances are for a good recovery. Treatment of traumatic brachial plexus injuries can be complex. There are many factors to consider. There is the delay from the time of the accident to the time of intervention. Waiting too long can lead to atrophy of the affected nerves and muscles they control. The location and severity of the injury are also important considerations. The neurosurgeon will conduct a variety of tests to assess nerve and motor function. Muscle strength, range-of-motion, and function will be checked. Sometimes primary muscles responsible for a movement aren't working. It's possible to develop muscle substitutions (one muscle doing the job of another). The presence of any muscle substitutions will be noted. The surgeon will also check for shoulder instability. Once all the data has been gathered, the surgeon will sit down with you and review your options. There may be a good chance that nerve grafts or a nerve transfer can be used to restore innervation to the muscles. Brachial plexus reconstruction is most successful when performed on young individuals without a long delay between injury and surgery. Theresa Stockinger, MD, et al. Clinical Application of Pectoral Nerve Transfers in the Treatment of Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injuries. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. September 2008. Vol. 33A. No. 7. Pp. 1100-1107.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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