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:
Feb. 24, 2011
- Write down all your symptoms. Include 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 herbs that you're taking.
- If possible, take along a family member or friend. It can be difficult to absorb all the information you're given during an appointment. The person 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 be afraid 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.
- Brachial plexus injury (Erb's palsy). American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/BrachialPlexus.aspx. Accessed Nov. 22, 2010.
- Burners and stingers. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/fact/thr_report.cfm?Thread_ID=226&topcategory=Shoulder. Accessed Nov 22, 2010.
- NINDS brachial plexus information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brachial_plexus/brachial_plexus.htm. Accessed Nov. 22, 2010.
- Erb's palsy (brachial plexus birth injury). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/fact/thr_report.cfm?Thread_ID=314&topcategory=Shoulder. Accessed Nov. 22, 2010.
- Brombert MB. Brachial plexus syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 22, 2010.
- Sulaiman OAR, et al. Nerve transfer surgery for adult brachial plexus injury: A 10-year experience at Louisiana State University. Neurosurgery. 2009;65:A55.
- Naoyuki O, et al. Nerve grafting in brachial plexus injuries. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 1996;78:754.
- Nerve injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00016. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Guiffre JL, et al. Current concepts of the treatment of adult brachial plexus injuries. Journal of Hand Surgery American. 2010;35:1226.