What is Erb’s Palsy?
2 minute read
Erb’s palsy is the name for a certain type of injury to the brachial plexus nerves. It most frequently occurs during childbirth. However, adults can get it too.
A brachial plexus injury is an injury to a bundle of nerves contained in the neck. These nerves govern the movement of the arm and a brachial plexus injury will result in a neurological impairment in the arm otherwise known as erbs palsy. It has long term implications for child and parents alike as the damage is irreparable and will necessitate further surgical interventions as the child grows up together with long term aids and appliance needs.
This injury can be caused during the delivery of a baby when one of the baby’s shoulders becomes impacted as it passes down the birth canal, typically on the mother’s symphysis pubis, and the baby becomes stuck (shoulder dystocia). This is an extremely traumatic obstetric emergency for mother and clinician alike as the baby must be delivered before it is deprived of oxygen for too long and suffers irreparable brain damage or dies. However the person delivering the baby must also resist the temptation to simply pull hard on the baby’s head in an effort to affect delivery as excessive traction will result in damage to the baby’s brachial plexus nerves.
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