Brachial Plexus Palsy is a condition that affects the nerves that control the muscles in the arm and hand. The term "brachial" refers to the arm, and the term "plexus" means "nerves." The brachial plexus, a group of nerves, is located on the right and left side of your neck, between the neck and shoulder area and runs from the spinal cord through the arm to the wrist and hand. Damage to these nerves occurs when a baby's shoulders become impacted at birth, stretching or tearing the brachial plexus. Shoulder dystocia, a condition in which one of the baby's shoulders becomes stuck under the mother's pelvic bone during birth, is one of the main causes of Brachial Plexus Palsy. This often happens as a result of a doctor's failure to anticipate a larger-sized baby. For more information on Brachial Plexus Injuries, including Erb's Palsy, visit our Resources page or contact our Brachial Plexus and Erb's Palsy lawyers at 1-800-732-5243.


Signs and Symptoms
The most common signs of a brachial plexus injury are as follows:·

  • A limp or paralyzed arm
  • Lack of muscle control in the arm
  • A decrease of sensation in the arm or hand
  • Loss of sensation in the arm or hand
  • Lack of control of shoulder or elbow muscles

The effects of Brachial Plexus Palsy will vary depending on which nerves sustain damage. Some children with BPP have no muscle control and no feeling in the arm or hand. Others can move their arms, but have little control over the wrist and hand. Some children can use their hands well but cannot use the shoulder or elbow muscles.

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries
There are four types of nerve injuries: avulsion, rupture, neuroma, and praxis.

Avulsion - the nerve is torn from the spine

Rupture - the nerve is torn but not where it attaches to the spine

- the nerve has tried to heal itself, but scar tissue has grown around the injury. The scar tissue puts pressure on the injured nerve. As a result, the nerve cannot conduct signals to the muscles.

- the nerve has been damaged but not torn. These injuries heal on their own. If your child has praxis, you should see improvement within 3 months.

Depending on what nerves are damaged, Brachial Plexus injuries are given names to describe the damage. For example, "Erb's Palsy" is when the brachial plexus injury occurs in a child's upper plexus. The name "Klumpke's Palsy" is given to a brachial plexus injury that occurs in a child's lower plexus.

Brachial Plexus Injuries, including Erb's Palsy, are treated with a combination of exercise, focused therapy and, in many cases, surgery to correct the damaged nerves. Each treatment plan is unique based on the child's severity and is carefully planned and managed by a team of specialists. An occupational or physical therapist is usually involved in the brachial plexus treatment.

For more information on Brachial Plexus Injuries or Erb's Palsy, visit our Resources page. Or call our Brachial Plexus and Erb's Palsy attorneys today at 1-800-732-5243.

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