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Brachial Plexus Injury

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  • Brachial Plexus Injury

    The brachial plexus is a system of nerves that leads signals from the spinal rope, which is housed in the spinal waterway of the vertebral segment (or spine), to the shoulder, arm and hand. These nerves start in the fifth, 6th, seventh and eighth cervical (C5–C8), and first thoracic (T1) spinal nerves, and innervate the muscles and skin of the mid-section, shoulder, arm and hand. Brachial plexus wounds, or injuries, are brought on by harm to those nerve.

  • Brachial Plexus Injury

    Signs and symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm, lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist, and lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. Although several mechanisms account for brachial plexus injuries, the most common is nerve compression or stretch. Infants, in particular, may suffer brachial plexus injuries during delivery and these present with typical patterns of weakness, depending on which portion of the brachial plexus is involved. The most severe form of injury is nerve root avulsion, which results in complete weakness in corresponding muscles. This usually accompanies high-velocity impacts that occurs during motor vehicle or bicycle accidents.

  • Brachial Plexus Injury

    Obstetric brachial plexus palsy (OBPP), is an injury of the brachial plexus at childbirth affecting the nerve roots of C5-6 (Erb-Duchenne palsy-nearly 80% of cases) or less frequently the C8-T1 nerve roots (Klumpke palsy). OBPP often has medicolegal implications. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland the incidence is 0.42, in the United States 1.5, and in other western countries 1 to 3 per 1000 live births. Most infants with OBPP have no known risk factors. Shoulder dystocia increases the risk for OBPP 100-fold. The reported incidence of OBPP after shoulder dystocia varies widely from 4% to 40%. Other risk factors include birth weight >4 kg, maternal diabetes mellitus, obesity or excessive weight gain, prolonged pregnancy, prolonged second stage of labor, persistent fetal malposition, operative delivery, and breech extraction of a small baby. OBPP after caesarean section accounts for 1% to 4% of cases. Historically, OBPPs have been considered to result from excessive lateral traction and forceful deviation of the fetal head from the axial plane of the fetal body, usually in association with shoulder dystocia, which increases the necessary applied peak force and time to deliver the fetal shoulders. Direct compression of the fetal shoulder on the symphysis pubis may also cause injury. However a significant proportion of OBPPs occurs in utero, as according to some studies more than half of the cases are not associated with shoulder dystocia. Possible mechanisms of intrauterine injury include the endogenous propulsive forces of labor, intrauterine maladaptation, or failure of the shoulders to rotate, and impaction of the posterior shoulder behind the sacral promontory. Uterine anomalies, such as fibroids, an intrauterine septum, or a bicornuate uterus may also result in OBPP. It is not possible to reliably predict which fetuses will experience OBPP. Future research should be directed in prospective evaluation of the mechanisms of injury, to enable obstetricians, midwives, and other health care professionals to identify modifiable risk factors, develop preventive strategies, and improve perinatal outcomes.

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