A study of 10 patients with brachial plexus trauma was performed to determine whether the diagnostic accuracy of sensory evoked potentials (SEPs) may be improved by using stimulation of multiple peripheral nerves (median, radial, musculocutaneous and ulnar). In addition, the relative advantages of SEPs and peripheral electrophysiological studies were considered. SEP patterns following most common brachial plexus lesions were predictable. Injuries to the upper trunk affected the musculocutaneous and radial SEPs predominantly. Lower trunk or medial cord lesions primarily affected ulnar SEPs. Diffuse brachial plexus lesions affected SEPs from all stimulation sites. In the majority of cases, the necessary information was obtainable from conventional EMG: however, for lesions involving the upper segments only, SEP techniques were more useful. It is suggested that selective SEPs from appropriate peripheral nerves when interpreted in combination with conventional EMG may add useful additional information.
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