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J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2011 Nov;36(9):747-59. doi: 10.1177/1753193411422313. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Imaging and electrodiagnostic work-up of acute adult brachial plexus injuries.

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St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Imaging and electrodiagnostic studies form an essential part of the evaluation of the patient with traumatic brachial plexopathy, enabling clarification of surgical options, prognostication of outcome and formulation of postoperative management. The primary objective of imaging is to identify pre-ganglionic injury indicative of nerve root avulsion. The presence of one or more nerve root avulsion injuries is a critical factor in surgical decision-making and the prognosis of surgical reconstruction. CT myelography is the current imaging modality of choice for this purpose. Initial electrodiagnostic (EDX) testing is ideally performed no sooner than 4 weeks following injury unless otherwise clinically indicated. Follow-up testing can be helpful at approximately 6 week intervals. The sensory nerve amplitudes are the most important component of nerve conduction testing in distinguishing between pre- and post-ganglionic injuries. Electromyographic studies will also assist in the determination of a pre- from post-ganglionic injury, the level of plexus involvement and identify potential donor nerves that may be suitable for use as transfers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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