Erb’s Palsy Treatment

Erb’s Palsy is a condition that results from a birth injury to the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that control the arms and hands. Research published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) states that Erb’s Palsy treatment should begin as soon as possible following the injury. Erb’s Palsy treatment options include surgery as well as non-surgical therapies.

The BMJ states “treatment of Erb’s Palsy has been evolving. Different centers recommend different treatments for different reasons, but the overall goal is to maximize the use and function of the arm.”

Your doctor will recommend the treatment plan that is best for your child’s particular case. Here are some specific Erb’s Palsy treatment recommendations from this published research:

Initial Erb’s Palsy Treatment

  • Protect affected arm by careful handling of baby
  • Allow time for inflammation from birth injury to settle down
  • Don’t lift child under the arms
  • When dressing child, place affected arm into sleeve first, then head and then unaffected arm

Erb’s Palsy Treatment Beginning at 2 Weeks of Age

  • Physical therapy instruction for parents
  • Gentle passive motion of joints
  • Daily home-based stretching and exercise
  • Weekly or bi-weekly formal physical therapy
  • Monthly follow-up at clinic
  • Adaptive equipment like splints to prevent contractures

Surgery for Erb’s Palsy Treatment

  • Nerve reconstruction or reconnection surgery is very controversial
  • Choices about appropriate Erb’s Palsy surgery must be individualized
  • Some severe conditions clearly call for surgery
  • Some experts recommend very early surgery
  • No standardized treatment is recommended at this time

Erb’s Palsy Treatment for After Surgery

  • Physical therapy must be continued
  • Doctors continue monitoring child’s progress
  • Parents and child resume exercise program
  • Surgery for children under 5 includes muscle lengthening, muscle transfers, nerve reconstruction or reconnection and bone remodeling
  • Surgery can help improve range of motion in some but not all children
  • Surgery for children over the age of 7 usually involves the bone

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends frequent medical checkups for a baby with Erb’s Palsy to determine if the nerves are healing. It may take up to two years for symptoms to lessen. The Academy states that daily physical therapy is the mainstay of Erb’s Palsy treatment.

Erb’s Palsy and Medical Negligence

Erb’s Palsy can occur when childbirth is not properly managed. A doctor might use too much force pulling a newborn by the neck and shoulder. The result can be torn, stretched or compressed nerves. The symptoms of Erb’s Palsy are loss of feeling and weakness or paralysis (partial or total) in one arm.

If your baby has Erb’s Palsy, think back to your delivery. If the birth injury could have been prevented with proper medical care, an Erb’s Palsy lawyer may be able to help. Sokolove Law is staffed with experienced Erb’s Palsy attorneys, nurse case managers and legal professionals. Your actions can help prevent future medical negligence. If medical negligence is found, a settlement can help with the ongoing costs of care.