What is a brachial plexus injury?

In this video, John McCarthy answers the frequently asked question, “What is a brachial plexus injury?”

Overview

Brachial plexus injury is also referred to as Erb’s Palsy. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that runs down from the spinal cord into the arm and hand, and it serves as the brain’s means of communication with the arm and hand. If the brachial plexus is injured, the extent to which it’s injured depends on what the long-term implications are. If it’s simply bruised then, generally speaking, full functionality will be recovered, but if there’s a tear or some other significant trauma, it can result in a lack of function in the arm for life. These kinds of injuries result usually where the baby gets caught in the birth canal and they have to be vigorously pulled out by the obstetrician, with one of the shoulders being wedged in so that there’s pressure put on it. As a result of that – if it’s the case that the trauma is so bad that there’s actually a tear or very significant damage to the nerve bundle – a full recovery mightn’t be possible.

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