Medicine (MD/DO)
Anatomy & Embryology
Upper Extremity Nerves
Brachial Plexus Trunks

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Brachial Plexus Trunks

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Brachial Plexus Trunks

Brachial Plexus Tree Trunks
The ventral/anterior primary rami of C5-T1 join a pattern to form the superior, middle and inferior trunks.
Superior Trunk
Super Trunk above

C5 and C6 roots form the superior trunk. Damage to this trunk results in Erb-Duchenne palsy, characterized by the arm hanging by side, medially rotated and forearm pronated (think of a "Waiter’s tip").

Suprascapular Nerve
Super-scapula Nerve

This nerve originates from the superior trunk. It innervates the supraspinatus muscle and infraspinatus muscle (involved with lateral rotation of the arm).

Middle Trunk
Metal Trunk in middle

The C7 root forms the middle trunk. This contributes to the lateral pectoral, musculocutaneous, median, radial, axillary, thoracodorsal and subscapular nerves.

Inferior Trunk
Inferior Trunk beneath

C8 and T1 roots form the inferior trunk. Injury to the inferior trunk can have many manifestations, classically including hand weakness/paralysis due to impairment of the ulnar and median nerves.


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