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What You Need to Know About Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy is a form of obstetric brachial plexus injury and results in sensation loss as well as muscle weakness or paralysis involving shoulder and upper extremity muscles. When Erb’s Palsy occurs, it is because the upper trunk of the plexus has been damaged. This damage results in a weakness of shoulder and elbow movements.

Keep reading to learn more about Erb’s Palsy.

Causes of Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy typically occurs when the brachial plexus nerve fibers are stretched when the head and shoulder move in opposite directions. This can happen after the baby’s head has been delivered when the head deviates away from the shoulder so that the shoulder can get through the birth canal (shoulder dystocia).

Any of the following can cause Erb’s Palsy:

  • Large infants
  • Small mothers
  • Low or mid forceps delivery
  • Vacuum extraction
  • Second-stage labor exceeding one hour
  • Delivery of a previous infant with an obstetric brachial plexus injury

Diagnosing Erb’s Palsy

A physical examination and certain tests will determine whether a baby has Erb’s Palsy. The tests performed include the following:

  • EMG
    • To test the integrity of the nerve and muscle fibers
  • Imaging study
    • An MRI or CT - myelogram

Treatment

Several studies suggest that some spontaneous recovery occurs in over 90% of impacted people.

When people affected by Erb’s Palsy don’t have surgery to correct the condition, 20%-25% of patients report significant impairment later in life. The best results are achieved when surgery is performed during the first year.

Throughout the first year, leading up to surgery, patients will go through physical therapy.

If your baby has been affected by Erb’s Palsy, you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys here at Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. are highly skilled in birth injury medical malpractice law and have helped many other people in similar situations achieve justice. Let us see if we can help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office right away with any questions you may have.

Call Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. today at (816) 484-3776 for a free consultation regarding your case.

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