Doctors deliver nearly five thousand children a year who suffer from Brachial Plexus Palsy. In 90 percent of Brachial Plexus Palsy cases, traumatic stretching of the infant's plexus during birth causes the palsy. Estimates suggest that one to two out of every one thousand births result in a brachial plexus injury. Of those, one out of every ten represent an injury serious enough to require some form of treatment. Doctors, dating back to the 1700's, have described brachial plexus palsy as a paralysis of the arm. Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Erb, a German neurologist, located the most common injury resulting in brachial plexus palsy, in the nerves present at the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae (C-5 and C-6). If you and your baby have suffered injury contact us here.
A brachial plexus injury (including Complete Brachial Plexus Palsy, Erb's Palsy and Klempke's Palsy) affects a bundle of five nerves known as the brachial plexus, which control muscles in the shoulder, arm, and hand. As a result of this injury, all or some of these muscles might suffer paralysis. Some sufferers have no muscle control and no feeling in their arms or hands. Some can move their arms, but have little control over the wrist and hand. Still others can use their hands well, but cannot use the shoulder or elbow.
There are four types of nerve injuries that can result in brachial plexus palsy. An avulsion occurs when the injury results in the tearing of the nerve from the spine. This is the most serious type of brachial plexus injury. With a rupture, the nerve tears, but does not tear away from the spine. A neuroma exists when a nerve attempts to heal itself and scar tissue develops around the injury. This scar tissue exerts pressure on the injured nerve, thereby preventing signals from the nerve to the muscle. Finally, praxis is a nerve injury in which the nerve does not tear. In cases of praxis, the injury heals on its own, with improvement showing within three months of the injury.
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