Despite medical advances, birth injuries are still a major and often preventable problem. One of these injuries is brachial palsy.
It is important to understand this injury and how to prevent it.
What is the brachial plexus?
The brachial plexus is a bundle of five nerves in the lower portion of the neck and upper portion of the chest. These nerves branch out into smaller nerves leading down into the arm to the fingertips.
What is brachial palsy?
Brachial palsy is an injury to this nerve bundle. An injury to the brachial plexus often results in some form of brachial palsy. There are mild forms that are usually correctable and severe forms that result in complete paralysis of one or both arms.
What causes birth injury brachial palsy?
Most of these birth injuries result from the arm stretching away from the shoulder during birth, large birth weight, breech birth and long, difficult labor. These injuries usually show up right after birth.
Is birth injury brachial palsy preventable?
In some cases, this is a preventable injury. Some problems happen because the medical staff does not perform a c-section in time, misuses forceps and other equipment or too much force.
What is the treatment for brachial palsy?
A doctor and physical therapist can treat this disorder in mild to moderate cases, and children recover within three to six months. In more severe cases, surgery and other measures might be necessary. In a few very severe cases, the damage is too severe and can result in permanent paralysis of the arm.
Birth injury brachial palsy is a devastating diagnosis and is often preventable with good prenatal and delivery care.