Electrodiagnostic Corner

HSS Journal

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 87-95

First online:

Brachial Plexopathy/Nerve Root Avulsion in a Football Player: The Role of Electrodiagnostics

  • Joseph H. FeinbergAffiliated withDepartment of Physiatry, Hospital for Special SurgeryHospital for Special Surgery Email author 
  • , Jeffrey RadeckiAffiliated withDepartment of Physiatry, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Scott W. WolfeAffiliated withCenter for Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Helene L. StraussAffiliated withCenter for Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Douglas N. MintzAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology and Imaging, Hospital for Special Surgery

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Electromyography (EMG) studies are a useful tool in anatomical localization of peripheral nerve and brachial plexus injuries. They are especially helpful in distinguishing between brachial plexopathy and nerve root injuries where surgical intervention may be indicated. EMG can also assist in providing prognostic information after nerve injury as well as after nerve repair. In this case report, a football player presented with weakness in his right upper limb after a traction/traumatic injury to the right brachial plexus. EMG studies revealed evidence of both pre- and postganglionic injury to multiple cervical roots. The injury was substantial enough to cause nerve root avulsions involving the C6 and C7 levels. Surgical referral led to nerve grafts targeted at regaining function in shoulder abduction and elbow flexion. After surgery, the patient’s progress was monitored utilizing EMG to assist in identifying true axonal regeneration.

Key words

electromyography EMG electrodiagnostics brachial plexopathy nerve root avulsion nerve graft