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What is Erb’s palsy?

Oct 28, 2019 | Medical Malpractice

Pregnant women put trust in their medical team when giving birth. While virtually all doctors strive to do their best, accidents unfortunately do occur. Erb’s palsy is one form of birth injury that can impact a child’s movement, sometimes for the rest of the child’s life. In some cases, the condition can be treated with daily physical therapy. With more serious injuries, a child may require surgical treatment to treat the issue. 

Erb’s palsy occurs when the brachial plexus nerves in the spine get stretched during delivery. These nerves enable movement of the arms and hands, and when they’re damaged loss of sensation, weakness, and paralysis can occur to the affected limb. There are four different types of damage that characterize Erb’s policy, which can be present on their own or alongside other types of injuries. 

If nerves are stretched abnormally but no breakage occurs, the injury is referred to as neurapraxia. A neuroma is an injury where both stretching and some breakage of nerve fibers has occurred. Neuromas usually require more extensive therapy and medical treatment for a recovery to be made. Rupture and avulsion of the nerves are serious issues that require surgery to remedy. Even with treatment, loss of movement may remain a factor. 

With minor injuries, your pediatrician might monitor healing to make sure there are no complications. Some babies are put on an intensive exercise regimen, which must be performed by parents as instructed by medical staff. When the condition doesn’t resolve on its own or through physical therapy, surgery is the next step. Nerve grafting can be useful for treating ruptures, which involves the use of donor tissue to splice the nerve together.