Of the Brachial Plexus

Alexander Y. Shin, MDa*, Robert J. Spinner, MDb aDivision of Hand Surgery, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

Qu'ils n'oublient jamais que sans anatomie il n'y a point de physiologie, point de chirurgie, point de medicine.

—J. Cruveilhier Traite d'Anatomie Descriptive (1834)

The complex anatomy of the brachial plexus is probably one of the most anxiety-provoking subjects of medical school and residency curricula. Surgical exploration of this area, however, demands a clear and concise understanding of the normal anatomy and its variations, including the pathoanatomy. This article summarizes several hundred years of literature on the anatomy of the brachial plexus and then describes common surgical exposures to highlight the clinically relevant features.

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