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Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Injury)
If your newborn can move one arm but not the other, he or she may have a condition called Erb's palsy. The inability to move the arm is a symptom of an injury to the brachial plexus (BRAY-key-el PLEK-sis), a network of nerves that provides movement and sensation to the arm, hand and fingers. One or two of every 1,000 babies have this condition. Most infants with Erb's palsy will recover both movement and sensation in the affected arm without surgery. But parents must be watchful and active participants in the treatment process to ensure maximum functional recovery.
How it happens:
Erb's Palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis, The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm, lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist, and lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. Although injuries can occur at any time, many brachial plexus injuries happen during birth: Brachial plexus injuries in newborns usually occur during a difficult delivery, such as with a large baby, a breech presentation, or a prolonged labor, when the person assisting the delivery must exert some force to pull the baby from the birth canal. One side of the baby's neck is stretched, which can damage the nerves by stretching or tearing them. There are four types of brachial plexus injuries: avulsion, the most severe type, in which the nerve is torn from the spine; rupture, in which the nerve is torn but not at the spinal attachment; neuroma, in which the nerve has tried to heal itself but scar tissue has grown around the injury, putting pressure on the injured nerve and preventing the nerve from conducting signals to the muscles; and neuropraxia or stretch, in which the nerve has been damaged but not torn. Neuropraxia is the most common type of brachial plexus injury.
Information supplied by Wikipedia and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.