Plexopathy after COVID-19 Vaccination
The lymphatic system in our body acts as a sewage system, filtering out waste and helping fight infections. Axillary lymphadenopathy is a condition where the lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures in the lymphatic system) located in the armpit (axilla) area swell up. This usually happens when the body is trying to fight off an infection or in response to certain medications or vaccines.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that send signals from your spinal cord to your shoulder, arm, and hand. A plexopathy is a disorder that affects this network of nerves, leading to various symptoms including pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in the affected area.
Multiple case reports described lymphadenopathy after COVID-19 vaccination. Previously we talked about vaccine-triggered Parsonage-Turner syndrome, a rare idiopathic brachial plexopathy in a 50-year old male. 34-year-old healthy male also developed brachial plexus neuropraxia (a mild nerve injury) after getting the Covid vaccine. First, he exhibited unilateral axillary lymphadenopathy after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine that led to his swollen lymph nodes causing pressure on the brachial plexus, leading to medial cord plexopathy. This presented as nerve pain, a pins-and-needles sensation (paresthesia), and numbness in the patient's hand. Another case of unilateral lymphadenopathy resulting in a transient plexopathy presenting as neuralgic pain, paresthesia, and numbness in the hand, was published in JBJS Case Connect.
Diagnostic imaging and electrodiagnostic studies help to identify the condition. Similar cases were reported, such as a 52-year-old man with hypertension and diabetes who developed severe brachial plexopathy following a battle with COVID-19.
Sharma A, Gupta A. A rare case of brachial plexus neuropraxia after COVID-19 vaccination. Cureus. 2022 Jan 14;14(1).
Wu J, Oitment C, Silverman J, Grey TM, Bhanot K. Unilateral Axillary Lymphadenopathy After COVID-19 Vaccine Causing Medial Cord Plexopathy: A Case Report. JBJS Case Connect. 2022 Jun 22;12(2). doi: 10.2106/JBJS.CC.21.00712. PMID: 37440670.