Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation: An Alternative Treatment Modality for Radiation-Induced Brachial Plexopathy

Neal Shah, Alyson M. Engle, Eugene Raggi, Benedict Alter, Trent Emerick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Radiation therapy is used as a form of treatment for various neoplastic diseases. There are many potential adverse effects of this therapy, including radiation-induced neurotoxicity. Radiation-induced brachial plexopathy (RIBP) may occur due to the fibrosis of neural and perineural soft tissues, leading to ischemic damage of the axons and Schwann cells. The dose of radiation exceeds 55 Gy in many patients who develop symptoms [1]. Current incidence in the United States is 1-2%, and RIBP is most commonly seen in patients who have undergone treatment for breast cancer, lung cancer, or lymphoma [1-3]. Common symptoms include numbness, paresthesia, dysesthesia, and occasional numbness of the arm. Pain is present in the shoulder and proximal arm and is typically mild to moderate in severity. Diagnosis is often made based on clinical presentation and evaluation of imaging to rule out concurrent malignant etiologies of the brachial plexus. Current recommended treatment includes physical therapy and medical management with anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, and selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-753
Number of pages5
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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