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Learn the Brachial Plexus in Five Minutes or Less. By Daniel S. Romm, M.D. Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department of Veterans Affairs, Biloxi, Mississippi and Dennis A. Chu, M.D. This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities

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Learn the brachial plexus in five minutes or less l.jpg

Learn the Brachial Plexusin Five Minutes or Less

By Daniel S. Romm, M.D.

Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Department of Veterans Affairs, Biloxi, Mississippi

and Dennis A. Chu, M.D.

This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities

at the VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System.This material reflects the authors’ personal views

and in no way represents the official view of the Department of Veterans Affairs of the U.S. Government.


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The brachial plexus contains the neural connections between the neck and brachial nerves.

This speedy method helps simplify understanding the diagram of the brachial plexus.


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Draw two headless arrows to the right. the neck and brachial nerves.


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Add a headless arrow to the left. the neck and brachial nerves.


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Add a “W “. the neck and brachial nerves.


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Add an “X”. the neck and brachial nerves.



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Label C5 to T1. the neck and brachial nerves.


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Label the major branches: the neck and brachial nerves.

MC = musculocutaneous,

M = median U = ulnar

R = radial AX = auxiliary



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More complex diagramming of the brachial plexus includes the four “3s.”

Neurosurgeons, neurologists, and physiatrists will use this diagram system.



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Next, each of the headless arrows has three nerves attached to it.To the top headless arrow, add its “3.”


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Label these “3”: to it. DSN = dorsoscapular nerve; SS = suprascapular nerve;

LP = lateral pectoral nerve.





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Label the last “3.” to it. MP = medial pectoral,

MBC = medial brachial cutaneous, and MABC = medial antebrachial cutaneous. Remember: the brachial cutaneous goes to the brachium or arm, and the MABC goes to the antebrachium or forearm. The nerve to the forearm starts distally.



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Radiologists, neurosurgeons and thoracic surgeons need to know the nerve to the subclavius (SUB).


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The complete brachial plexus diagram: know the nerve to the subclavius (SUB).