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Erb's Palsy (also known as Brachial Plexus and Shoulder Distocia) is a condition that results from nerve injury to the upper plexus involving the nerves that control muscles in the shoulder, arms, or hand.What is Erb's Palsy?
Erb's Palsy is a type of Brachial Plexus injury. The Brachial Plexus is a network of nerves that run from the spine through the shoulder and to the tips of the fingers (shown in the right figure, the labeled nerves are part of the system). Brachial means arm, and Plexus refers to a network of nerves. The Brachial Plexus conducts signals from the spine to the arm and hand. These signals cause the arm and hand muscles to move. In the picture on the right, the Brachial plexus nerves are shown.Understanding Erb's Palsy
Erb's Palsy (a Brachial Plexus injury) is a nerve injury. The nerves that are damaged control muscles in the shoulder, arm, or hand. Any or all of these muscles may be paralyzed. Your child's disability depends on which nerves are injured and how severely they have been damaged.
Children with Erb's Palsy are affected in different ways. Here are some examples:
Erbs Palsy symptoms range from mild neuropraxia with early recovery to complete disruption with no potential for recovery;What Causes Erb's Palsy?
Although Erb's Palsy (a Brachial Plexus injury) can occur at any time, most cases happen during birth. During the strain of childbirth, the shoulder of the baby could get caught and stretched behind the Pubic Symphysis bone (part of the Pelvis bone). Once the shoulder is caught, the Brachial Plexus can be compressed, stretched or torn as shown in red in pictured to the right.
Many babies with Erb's Palsy are larger than average at birth. However, newborns of all sizes, including premature babies, can have these injuries. A larger baby will have a greater chance of getting caught behind the Pubic Symphysis bone and getting injured severely.
About 1 or 2 babies in 1,000 suffer from Erb's Palsy. The symptoms of Erbs Palsy include a limp or paralyzed arm and/or lack of muscle control in the arm or hand.
There are 4 types of Erb's Palsy:
Often the diagnosis is more complicated than one of the four groups above. Because different injury types may cause the same symptoms, it is difficult to know what kind of injury has occured. In addition, sometimes many nerves in the Brachial Plexus may be injured and the nerves may have different types of injuries.
Most cases of Erb's Palsy are mild and most children will recover in 3 to 4 months. The more severe injuries may take 18 to 24 months to recover. During this recovery time physical therapy may be necessary. Gentle range of motion exercises and electrical stimulation of muscles need to be performed regularly to keep the joints of the arm supple and prevent atrophy. Other treatments that may be necessary are occupational therapy and, in some cases, surgery.We Help Families Who Have A Child With Erb's Palsy?
Our law firm, together with the network of other law firms that we work with, helps victims of Erb's Palsy medical malpractice nationally.
Law Office of Joseph A. Hernandez, P.C.
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