A number of tests may be used to help diagnose the type and severity of brachial plexus injuries. When you make your appointment, be sure to ask whether you need to prepare for these tests. For instance, you may need to stop taking certain medications for a few days or avoid using lotions the day of the test.
Other suggestions for getting the most from your appointment include:
May. 01, 2014
- Write down all your symptoms, including how you were injured, how long you've had your symptoms and whether they've gotten worse over time.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
If possible, take along a family member or friend. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information you're given during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you forgot or missed.
This is especially important if your child has a brachial plexus injury. For most babies, the injury heals on its own without any lasting damage, but children who don't show improvement in the first three to six months of life may require surgery. This means parents face some difficult decisions, and it's often helpful to have a friend or family member who can offer advice and support.
- Don't hesitate to ask questions. Children and adults with brachial plexus injuries have several options for restoring lost function. Be sure to ask your doctor about all the possibilities available to you or your child. If you run out of time, ask to speak with a nurse or have your doctor call you later.
- NINDS brachial plexus injuries information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brachial_plexus/brachial_plexus.htm. Accessed Oct. 1, 2013.
- Erb's palsy (brachial plexus birth palsy). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00077. Accessed Oct. 1, 2013.
- Brachial plexus. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/BrachialPlexus.aspx. Accessed Oct. 1, 2013.
- Bromberg MB. Brachial plexus syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 1, 2013.
- Burners and stingers. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00027. Accessed Oct. 1, 2013.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Sept. 5, 2013.
- Giuffre JL, et al. Current concepts of the treatment of adult brachial plexus injuries. The Journal of Hand Surgery. 2010;35:678.
- Yang LJ, et al. A systematic review of nerve transfer and nerve repair for the treatment of adult upper brachial plexus injury. Neurosurgery. 2012;71:417.
- Neuropathic pain. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/pain/neuropathic_pain.html?qt=neuropathic%20pain&alt=sh. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Pain: hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/detail_chronic_pain.htm. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 4, 2013.
- Spinner RJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 26, 2013.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 2, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.