Birth injuries of the brachial plexus

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2004 Apr;51(2):421-40. doi: 10.1016/S0031-3955(03)00212-8.


Birth injuries of the brachial plexus are fairly common, but most affected newborns make quick recoveries without any specific intervention. A minority suffer more severe injuries that lead to varying degrees of life-long disability. Modem microsurgical techniques permit reconstruction of certain plexus injuries and, in carefully selected patients, can restore voluntary activity to target muscle groups. The degree to which reanimation of paralyzed muscles improves function and quality of life for these children is a more important matter that has not yet been addressed using modern standards of evidence. Brachial plexus reconstruction is only a first step in the multidisciplinary process needed to optimize long-term functional outcomes for severely affected infants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Birth Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Birth Injuries* / surgery
  • Brachial Plexus / injuries*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / diagnosis
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / epidemiology
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Prognosis
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures