Understanding Erb’s Palsy

The advances made in obstetrical medicine in recent years have made childbirth seem likely a relatively routine procedure. Thus, when Stamford clients come to us here at Wocl Leydon LLC after having had to go through the ordeal of a birth injury, the first thing we often look for is an error by their providers. Your newborn baby is so delicate that the need to handle him or her with care typically does not need to be stated. However, that might not stop a doctor or nurse from misapplying force and causing a serious injury.

One such injury that is often seen in newborns is known as Erb’s Palsy. This condition is the result of damage done to the brachial plexus nerves that pass from your baby’s spinal cord into his or her arms. It is characterized by visible weakness or an inability to rotate the affected arm. Typically, damage to the brachial plexus nerve occurs if your doctor stretches your baby’s head too far to either side during delivery.

Your baby’s prospects for recovery from Erb’s Palsy depend on type of damage done to the brachial plexus nerve. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons lists the following as the type of injuries the nerve can sustain (along with the accompanying prognosis):

  • Neurapraxia: “Shock” to the nerve; recovery typically happens on its own within three months
  • Neuroma: Stretching of the nerve; some recovery possible
  • Rupture: Tearing apart of the nerve; surgical intervention required
  • Avulsion: Tearing of the nerve from the spinal cord; limited motion may be restored through donor nerve grafting

Regardless of the type of brachial plexus injury your baby sustains, some degree of recuperative therapy is typically required. You can learn more about the causes of birth injuries by continuing to explore our site.