Brachial Plexus Injury
What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?
The brachial plexus refers to a network of nerves from the spine and through the neck to the shoulders, arms and hands. An infant can suffer from a brachial plexus injury (BPI), also known as Erb’s Palsy, during birth, most commonly due to excessive or improper force by the doctor during the delivery. Such injuries can cause bruising and tearing to the brachial plexus nerves.
What Causes a Brachial Plexus Injury?
When a shoulder is caught by one of the pubic bones during delivery, the doctor may use excessive force in delivering the baby, causing tearing or stretching of the brachial plexus nerves. Risk factors may include:
- The baby has a large weight and size
- The mother has diabetes
- The mother is obese
What Are the Effects of a Brachial Plexus Injury?
When the brachial plexus nerves are ruptured, torn, or stretched, the effects will range in severity.
- Partial or full paralysis of the arm and/or hand
- Loss of sensory or motor function in the arm and/or hand
- Arm and/or hand weakness or numbness
- Bending of the affected arm towards the body
What Are the Treatment Options for Brachial Plexus Palsy (BPP) or Erb’s Palsy?
A pediatrician will be able to diagnose BPP based on a physical examination of the arm. Once diagnosed, there will be several treatment options presented to you. The main treatment for the condition is daily physical therapy. A doctor or physical therapist will show the proper range-of-motion exercises for parents to do with their baby to maintain muscle motion and prevent joints from stiffening.
If after three to six months no change has occurred, your doctor may recommend surgery as the next course of action, either a nerve graft or a nerve transfer. A nerve graft may be able to repair the rupture by splicing another one of the child’s nerves. A nerve transfer takes a nerve from a different muscle and uses it as a donor to restore some function in the arm. It is important to know that neither of these procedures will typically entirely restore full and normal function.
Thurswell Law Has the Experience You Need
Thurswell Law has been assisting families and children with Erb’s palsy as a result of a birth injury since 1968. We won’t charge a fee unless we recover money for your child. Call us today at 248-354-2222 for a free consultation.