The brachial plexus is traumatizing regardless of how you look at it, or how many times you’ve seen it.  I think the best way to start is with something like Learn the Brachial Plexus in 5 Minutes (which may take more than 5 minutes, but unless you have a photographic memory or a spare fortnight, it’s still the way to go.)

Yesterday’s anatomy lecture included approximately a 10 second overview of the brachial plexus (the best summary might be, “You need to know this, so start memorizing.”), with 3 slides of increasing complexity being shown.

I don’t want to show the actual, most complex slide, but to use a biochemistry analogy, let’s say it was the anatomy equivalent of this:

(Have you ever heard 150 people gasping at once?   Get 150 of your close friends in a room together and try it sometime; it’s an experience.)

“Well,” the professor said, “Come on.  What else are you gonna do this weekend?”

Not much, apparently.  So I headed to lab after class to see how it would go, and discovered that my cadaver miraculously was missing about half of the important sub-branches.  Again, traumatizing.

I think my favorite part of anatomy is declaring anything you can’t find to be an abnormality.  Earlier this week, my group couldn’t find either the basilic or cephalic veins, and pretty much decided our cadaver was missing a venous system.  Now, thanks to the brachial plexus lecture, I can add in the subclavian, lower subscapular, and medial cutaneous nerves to the list.

I’ll let you know when we publish.

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