Brachial Plexus Injuries/Stereotactic Procedures in South Korea

Brachial plexus or Plexus Brachialis is formed by the conjunction of somatic nerves involving the anterior or ventral roots (rami) of the four end cervical regions and the first thoracic portion vertebrae (C5, C6, C7, C, 8, and T1). The network of nerves travels from the spinal cord to the initial ribs and covers both the armpits via the cervicoaxillary canal (neck). Any injury to the conjunction may cause tremendous pain in the shoulder region, neck, and arms. 

What are brachial plexus injuries, and how is its treatment performed?

Brachial plexus injuries are mostly caused due to any traumatic or accidental damage resulting from sudden and excessive jerk to the shoulder which eventually strains the nerves. In severe cases, the nerves may also get torn apart which requires thorough medical attention and surgical treatments.

Besides being prescribed within killers, the treatments for minor injuries may range from physiotherapy to regular exercise. To reduce the pain and prevent the condition from worsening, one must refrain from heavy physical activities and outdoor sports. Besides, the surgical treatments required for the same are:

  • Muscle transfer
  • Nerve graft
  • Nerve transfer

The three procedures involve transferring of nerve or a patch of thin muscle from a different, healthy portion to the damaged brachial nerves in order to re-establish the connection in the position.

Ideal Candidate for stereotactic procedures 

Stereotactic procedures involve 3D coordinating procedures, in order to track down the area of damage and perform necessary functions. With a minimum invasion, the procedure allows performing biopsy, radiosurgery, ablation, etc. Ideal candidates for the same are candidates who:

  • Show signs of neurological trauma or damage, and may require surgery
  • Have tumors and require radiosurgery 
  • Require other invasive treatments 
  • Damage or disruption is undetected otherwise

Factors affecting the cost of Stereotactic Procedures

Brachial plexus injuries/stereotactic procedures cost may vary as per the requirement and usually begins from $7500. However, the deciding factors which may result in variation are:

  • Requirement or type of stereotactic procedure
  • The extent of the procedure required
  • Area affected
  • Type of healthcare benefit availed
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About the Brachial Plexus Injuries/Stereotactic Procedures

Brachial plexus injury is a medical emergency caused due to an injury to the brachial plexus group of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm, and hand. These nerves control and administer feelings in the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, and arm. This damage is also known as brachial plexopathy. Brachial plexus injury appears when these nerves are compressed, stretched, or in the most serious case, ripped apart from the spinal cord. Some brachial plexus injuries known as stingers or burners are inconsequential and will completely recover in a few weeks. However, other brachial plexus injuries are severe enough and may cause some permanent impairment in the arm. In severe conditions, it can paralyze your arm, with a failure of function and sensation.


Brachial Plexus Injury Causes

Brachial plexus injury results when the brachial nerves are damaged by excessive stretching, pressure, or cutting. Stretching can occur when your shoulder is forced down while your neck stretches up and away from the injured shoulder such as during a motorcycle or a car accident. In case of a serious injury, the brachial nerve may rip off the spinal cord in the neck. This type of brachial plexus injury is classified as traumatic brachial plexus injuries. It may occur because of different reasons, including:

  • Contact sports: Contact sports players may experience burners or stingers, which can occur when the nerves in the brachial plexus get stretched above their limits during collisions with other players.
  • Trauma: Several types of trauma, including motorcycle and car accidents or bullet wounds, can result in a brachial plexus injury.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation may also cause damage to the brachial plexus. An uncommon condition known as Parsonage-Turner syndrome or brachial plexitis causes brachial plexus inflammation without any trauma.
  • Tumors: Noncancerous (benign) or cancerous tumors may damage the brachial plexus.
  • Childbirth: Injury during complication of childbirth.

Brachial plexopathy may also result from exposure to radiation at the time of stereotactic radiosurgery or specific procedures such as stereotactic breast biopsy.


Brachial Plexus Injury Symptoms

Symptoms of the brachial plexus injury depend on the seriousness of the injury. A minor injury can often occur during any contact sport and minor trauma when the brachial plexus nerves get stretched or compressed. Minor brachial plexus injury symptoms include the following:

  • Burning sensation and shocks shooting down your arm
  • Weakness and numbness in your arm

More serious brachial plexus injury symptoms result when nerves are torn or ruptured. Such injuries may produce the following symptoms:

  • Weakness or inability to use certain muscles of hand, arm or shoulder
  • Complete lack of movement and feelings (paralysis) in your arm, including your shoulder and hand
  • Severe pain

In case of childbirth brachial plexus injury, symptoms can be seen right after the birth of the child. These may include:

  • No movement in the upper or lower arm or hand of the baby
  • Arm flexed (bent) at the elbow and held against the body
  • Absence of Moro reflex on the affected side
  • Decreased grip on the affected side

How is Brachial Plexus Injuries/Stereotactic Procedures performed?

Some common types of surgical brachial plexus injury treatment include the following:

  • Nerve grafting: Surgically removing and replacing the damaged part of the brachial plexus with sections of nerves harvested from other parts of the body is called nerve grafting. 
  • Nerve transfer: This type of surgery is opted when the nerve root has been torn from the spinal cord. A surgeon often takes a less important nerve that is still attached to the spinal cord and connects it to the nerve that is ripped off from the spinal cord. Occasionally, a combination of nerve graft and nerve transfer is performed.
  • Muscle transfer: During this surgery, your surgeon removes a less important muscle or ligament from another part of your body and transfers it to your arm, and restores the nerves and blood vessels supplying that muscle.

Recovery from Brachial Plexus Injuries/Stereotactic Procedures

It is very hard to assess an exact recovery time after brachial plexus injury treatment due to the broad spectrum. How likely a spontaneous recovery depends on the type and severity of the injury.

In the case of surgery, nerve tissue grows very slowly, about an inch a month, so it can take a few years to assess the success of brachial plexus injury surgery. However, during the recovery period, patients are encouraged to keep their joints flexible by following an exercise schedule. The success rate of surgery is quite good but recovery time and success rate must be assessed on an individual basis.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Korea / Why should opt for South Korea as a destination for your medical treatment?
South Korea is recognized for its strict rules and regulations which have kept the country in strict discipline. As an upside, the country has well-maintained regulations for every process and impressive medical healthcare facilities which have garnered thousands of visitors from across the world. The reason for opting for hospitals in South Korea is the astounding treatment options available at a very cost-effective price range, which is undoubtedly more affordable than most of the developed countries across the world. Besides the well-planned infrastructure, the treatment in South Korea and the alternatives offered are tempting enough. Apart from that, the country also flaunts high success rates and has thus been able to cure some of the most complex diseases in the world.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Korea? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals?
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a global leader in health care accreditation. JCI accreditation is considered a gold standard in worldwide health care. It provides the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the medical industry, as evaluators of the rigorous international standards in healthcare quality and patient safety. YUHS Severance Hospital + Gangnam Severance Hospital is a JCI certified hospital in South Korea.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Korea of the best quality?
The doctors and surgeons providing treatments in South Korea are globally recognized for their service in the medical field. Furnished with degrees from reputed universities and decades of training and experience, the doctors have earned high success rates throughout their professional careers. The doctors have to undergo rigorous training to keep up with the strict protocol and measures of hospitals in South Korea. Hence, quality is maintained.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Korea?
The Korean embassy follows a strict protocol for obtaining a visa for traveling to the country. The necessary documents (photocopies and original) have been listed on their official website and should be strictly adhered to. The candidate also has to produce necessary papers stating the medical cause and referral certificate signed by the registered medical practitioner. Although these need to be taken care of by the candidate, the rest of the procedures and further visa assistance is managed by the sponsors in most cases. A Medical Dependent Visa is granted to those who are accompanying a patient traveling to Sount Korea for medical treatment on a Medical Visa. This visa can be given to a close relative/family member or a friend of the patient. Please note that relevant letters/documents explaining details of the treatment, signed and stamped by the concerned hospitals/doctors, a declaration from the patient or an immediate family member is also required confirming the escort travel along with the patient.
What support services does MediGence provide in South Korea?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
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  • Doctor Validation and Communication
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  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
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  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Korea for medical treatment?
Treatment in South Korea is affordable. Seoul is the capital of South Korea and one of the main cities for healthcare. Seoul and Daegu have some of the best hospitals in South Korea. Busan, Incheon, and Ulsan also have developing healthcare facilities.

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