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What is Erb’s Palsy?

If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy in Washington, you may be wondering how this happened and what you can do about it. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this condition is actually a birth injury that is caused during a difficult delivery of a breech position or large baby or a delivery in which there was prolonged labor.

 

The chances of developing Erb’s Palsy are extremely low, with only one to two of every 1,000 babies being diagnosed. The condition can be caused if your baby’s neck was stretched to the side during delivery, affecting the nerves that control the fingers, hand and arm.

 

There are several different types of injuries that can occur, and each will have an effect on when and how well your child recovers. One type is a rupture, which is caused when the nerves are stretched so far that they tear apart. This injury will not be able to heal on its own. Cases where the nerve is completely torn from the spinal cord are called avulsions and may be irreparable or require a donor nerve graft to restore some motion.

 

Less-severe types of injuries are called neuromas, in which the nerve damage results in scar tissue that can prevent a total recovery. Neurapraxia is another type of injury that does not result in a tear, but stretches and shocks the system. This injury will often heal completely within three months. Erb’s Palsy can lead to total paralysis in the arm in severe cases and short-term weakness in minor injuries. This information is intended for your education and should not be taken as legal or medical advice.

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