This condition is an injury to the brachial plexus, which is a large sum of nerves that run down the spinal cord and connect with the arms and shoulders muscles. Total or partial paralysis can be suffered by children born with this condition. It usually comes from a complication during birth such as, shouler dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is when the shoulders of the baby gets stuck behind the pubic bone of the mother.
When this happens, the delivering doctor needs to make sure that he or she is supporting the baby’s head, and try to dislodge it in a gentle manner because too much force can cause damage to the brachial plexus nerves that are located in the baby’s neck.
Different Brachial Plexus Damages
Brachial Plexus damages consist of four types:
Rupture: The nerve is not completed separated from the spine, but is instead torn
Neuroma: Scar tissue has developed over the damage nerve while it was trying to heal
Neuropraxia: The nerve has not been torn, but it was damaged. This type is the most recurrent of the four.
Avulsion: Nerve is completed separated from the spine. This type is the gravest of the four.
Shoulder Dystocia Risks
Predicting shoulder dystocia is unlikely, but doctors may have warning signs and risks that should be considered when delivering a child:
- Mother being obese
- Pregnancy lasting more than 40 weeks
- A gain of more than 35 pounds during pregnancy
- Mother having gestational diabetes
- Baby estimated to weigh more than 8lbs. 14oz
- Baby not being in the correct fetal position
To relieve the pain of delivering, some mothers choose to have an epidural which causes loss of sensation from the hips downward. With its advantage of not being able to feel pain, it also brings the disadvantage of not being able to feel pushing sensations that can mask if baby moves in an awkward position. When this happens, doctors might have to use tools like, vacuum or forceps to assist the baby out of the birth canal. These instruments can potentially cause damage to the baby’s brachial plexus.
Other forms of Delivery
If shouler dystocia is noticed, doctors have other procedures in delivering the baby that reduces the baby in suffering from damages to the brachial plexus, such as:
- McRobert’s maneuver
- Deep episiotomy
- Changing baby’s position
- Position mother differently
- Suprapublic pressure
- And more
Treating Erbs Palsy
Sometimes it may heal on its own, but other times therapy, exercise, and even surgery are required to heal it. Surgery has shown to have less of an impact on infants older than 12 months, but has had proven results for infants between 5 and 12 months of age.
Performing surgery for Erbs Palsy is very complicated because it requires a special anesthesiologist, equipment to monitor, pediatric neurosurgeon, and more. It may also be possible that more than one surgery is needed because most likely there has been multiple nerves that were damaged. Whether an infant is in need of this surgery depends on the individual case of the infant.
Therapy is extremely important with a child that has Erbs Palsy. Physical activity through therapy can help improve their range of motion and prevent joints from getting stuck. Lawyers at Percy Martinez Law office have helped many who fell victims of this condition. Speak with one of our personal injury lawyers today!
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