We have performed high flux plasma exposure of tungsten and subsequent microstructural characterization using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. The aim was to reveal the nanometric features in the sub-surface region as well as to compare the microstructural evolution in tungsten single crystal and ITER-relevant specification. In both types of samples, TEM examination revealed the formation of a dense dislocation network and dislocation tangles. The estimated dislocation density in the sub-surface region was of the order of 1014 m-2 and it gradually decreased with a depth position of the examined sample. Besides individual dislocation lines, networks and tangles, the interstitial dislocation loops have been observed in all examined samples only after the exposure. Contrary to that, examination of the pristine single crystal W and backside of the plasma-exposed samples did not reveal the presence of dislocation loops and tangles. This clearly proves that high flux plasma exposure induces severe plastic deformation in the sub-surface region irrespective of the presence of initial dislocations and sub-grains, and the formation of dislocation tangles, networks and interstitial loops is a co-product of thermal stress and intensive plasma particles uptake.