Obstetrical brachial plexus injury in newborn babies delivered by caesarean section

J Hand Surg Br. 1996 Apr;21(2):263-5. doi: 10.1016/s0266-7681(96)80112-4.


The hand surgeon is frequently involved in the medicolegal assessment of birth palsy cases. Although brachial plexus injury has been reported in newborns delivered by Caesarean section, it is difficult to determine if these cases are due to excessive force when delivering the infant from the uterus or whether the palsy is related to other factors. We have studied our series of 16 cases of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy with special attention to the newborn baby delivered by Caesarean section. We have reviewed the English literature over the last decade and found that birth palsy in newborns delivered by Caesarean section is extremely rare (1% of all birth palsy cases). The differentiation between brachial plexus injury caused by forcible delivery and congenital upper limb palsy from other causes is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Brachial Plexus / injuries*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Paralysis, Obstetric / etiology*
  • Pregnancy