What Is a Brachial Plexus?


Quick Answer

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that transmits signals from the spine to the outer extremities of the upper body, according to Mayo Clinic. The brachial plexus controls the hands, arms and shoulders.

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Full Answer

This network of nerves starts in the neck region and branches out to form the nerves that control sensation and movement in the upper limbs, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brachial plexus is the source of the median, radial and ulnar nerves.

The median nerve is a branch of the lateral and medial cords of the brachial plexus and controls the forearm and most of the fingers, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The radial nerve branches off from the back cord of the brachial plexus and controls the muscles that straighten the elbow, wrist and fingers. The ulnar nerve is a branch of the medial cord. It allows the wrist and fingers to flex and controls fine finger movement.

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