Reliability of Various Predictors for Preoperative Diagnosis of Infraclavicular Brachial Plexus Lesions with Shoulder and/or Elbow Paresis

Shan Shan Qiu, Tommy Nai-Jen Chang, Johnny Chuieng-Yi Lu, David Chwei-Chin Chuang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Background The distinction between supraclavicular and infraclavicular acute brachial plexus injuries (BPIs) could be challenging in cases of combined shoulder and elbow paresis. The reliability of several preoperative predictors was investigated to avoid unnecessary dissection, prolonged operation time, increased postoperative morbidity, and long scars. Methods Between 2004 and 2013, 75 patients, who sustained acute BPI and presented with motor paresis of shoulder and elbow with preservation of hand function, were included and studied retrospectively. Various predictors including muscles function, sensation, fractures, Tinel's sign and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) studies were reviewed. Results The highest odds ratio (OR) values for infraclavicular BPI were healthy clavicular head of pectoralis major and biceps, presenting with OR = 36.5 and 31.76, respectively, which were identified the most important predictors. Conclusion A combination of functioning pectoralis major or biceps, scapular fracture, an infraclavicular Tinel's sign, and normal NCV in the musculocutaneous nerve was highly predictive of an infraclavicular level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-449
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Reconstructive Microsurgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • brachial plexus injury
  • supraclavicular injury
  • infraclavicular injury

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