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Understanding Erb’s palsy

When expectant parents in Pennsylvania are preparing for the birth of a new child, understanding some of the potential problems that may occur duing labor and deliver is important even though this is not the most positive thing to focus on. The reality is that the more educated moms and dads are about these things, the more they can help advocate for the right care or action if that should become necessary.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if a baby is in the breech position or becomes lodged in the birth canal for too long, they run the risk of experiencing damage to some nerves that control shoulder, arm and hand movements. Sometimes the upper and lower sets of nerves may be affected and other times only the upper nerves are impacted.

WebMD explains that this group of nerves is called the brachial plexus and an injury to it may result in what is often called Erb’s palsy where palsy refers to some type of paralysis. The level of paralysis may in large part depend upon the extent of the injury. The mildest form involves no tearing of the nerve and may be the most likely to heal. Three other levels of injury involve a tearing of the nerve either where the nerve attaches to the spine or at some other location.

If the torn nerve has attempted to heal and scar tissue has developed, this may necessitate surgery to facilitate true recovery. The timing of diagnosis and surgery is important and may impact the ability to have the injury heal.




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