Abstract

Lesions of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), whether due to injury or illness, commonly result in residual symptoms and signs and, hence, permanent impairment. The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) describes procedures for rating upper extremity neural deficits in Chapter 3, The Musculoskeletal System, section 3.1k; Chapter 4, The Nervous System, section 4.4 provides additional information and an example. The AMA Guides also divides PNS deficits into sensory and motor and includes pain within the former. The impairment estimates take into account typical manifestations such as limited motion, atrophy, and reflex, trophic, and vasomotor deficits. Lesions of the peripheral nervous system may result in diminished sensation (anesthesia or hypesthesia), abnormal sensation (dysesthesia or paresthesia), or increased sensation (hyperesthesia). Lesions of motor nerves can result in weakness or paralysis of the muscles innervated. Spinal nerve deficits are identified by sensory loss or pain in the dermatome or weakness in the myotome supplied. The steps in estimating brachial plexus impairment are similar to those for spinal and peripheral nerves. Evaluators should take care not to rate the same impairment twice, eg, rating weakness resulting from a peripheral nerve injury and the joss of joint motion due to that weakness.

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