Given enough time, many brachial plexus injuries in both children and adults heal with no lasting damage. But some injuries can cause temporary or permanent problems:

  • Stiff joints. If you experience paralysis of your hand or arm, your joints can stiffen, making movement difficult, even if you regain use of your limb. For that reason, your doctor is likely to recommend ongoing physical therapy during your recovery.
  • Pain. This results from nerve damage and may become chronic.
  • Loss of feeling. If you lose feeling in your arm or hand, you run the risk of burning or injuring yourself without knowing it.
  • Muscle atrophy. Slow-growing nerves can take several years to regenerate. During that time, lack of use may cause the affected muscles to degenerate.
  • Permanent disability. How well you recover from a serious brachial plexus injury depends on a number of factors, including your age and the type, location and severity of the injury. Even with surgery, some people experience permanent disability, ranging from weakness in the hand, shoulder or arm to paralysis.
Feb. 24, 2011