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Treatment guidelines for Erb's palsy

Erb's Palsy is a condition often resulting from birth injury caused by medical malpractice. Approximately 0.1 percent of babies are born with this condition, typically caused by improper delivery procedure. This can result in the child's neck being twisted and stretched to the side. The strain can create inhibited movement and feeling in one arm due to injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves near the neck.

Treatment guidelines vary according to the severity of the condition. Erb's palsy ranges in severity including neurapraxia, or nerve "shocking" injuries that typically heal on their own. In the case of mild to moderate instances of Erb's palsy, treatment consists of daily physical therapy and range-of-motion exercises to strengthen the arm and bring it back to normal strength. For more serious injuries such as nerve ruptures, when the nerve is torn apart, or avulsions, where the nerve is torn free of the spinal cord, surgery may be a viable option.

Surgery usually consists of nerve grafts or nerve transfers. A nerve graft splices a nerve in from a donor and is used primarily for Erb's palsy that causes nerve ruptures. For nerve avulsions, nerve transfers are the only viable option; they involve using nerves from other muscles in the child's body as donors. Finally, while many children go on to regain full mobility in the affected arm, they may still suffer minor weakness in the shoulder, arm or hand that may require physical therapy.

While Erb's Palsy is treatable and even curable, it requires a significant amount of physical therapy and potential surgical procedures. These may be expensive, which is why it is important to enlist the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer if a child has Erb's Palsy. A New York lawyer may be able to secure compensation from a doctor or hospital responsible for the condition.

Source: Ortho Info, "Treatment", November 20, 2014

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