The brachial plexus is a cluster of nerves that control movement in the arms, hands and shoulders. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, damage to the brachial plexus can cause partial or total paralysis of the upper limbs. Although brachial plexus injuries can happen at any age, they are particularly common during birth – when doctors or nurses misuse forceps or vacuum extractors during forceful deliveries.
According to Mayo Clinic, there are several treatments for brachial plexus injuries. Some cases resolve without medical intervention. Depending on the severity of the damage, the doctor may recommend physical therapy and surgery.
If your child sustained a brachial plexus injury due to a negligent health-care worker, contact the Bowling Law Firm. David A. Bowling is a medical malpractice attorney in New Orleans who can gather evidence and help you fight for the maximum payout possible. He has more than 30 years of trial experience.
Here are three surgical options for treating serious brachial plexus injuries:
1. Nerve Transfer
A nerve transfer may be your surgeon’s recommendation if the nerve root severs completely from the spinal cord. This procedure involves connecting the severed nerve to one of less importance that is still attached to the spine.
Some surgeons conduct this procedure close to the targeted muscle. This may prevent the need for additional surgery later, and it can speed up recovery.
Patients with severe brachial plexus injuries, such as a paralysis-causing avulsion, benefit most from nerve transfers. Unfortunately, it may take time to notice progress because nerve growth can seem excruciatingly slow.
2. Muscle Transfer
A complicated procedure, a muscle transfer involves the removal of a muscle or tendon from the thigh and attaching it to the arm. Though rare, the muscle or tendon may come from another area of the body. After attaching the muscle to the arm, the surgeon connects all nerves and blood vessels necessary to supply it with oxygen, blood and other essential requirements.
This procedure is typically required when lack of use causes the arm muscles to atrophy. During the procedure, some surgeons take skin and tissue with the new muscle to build a skin flap. This enables easier monitoring of the muscle during recovery.
3. Nerve Graft
The rate of success is high for nerve graft procedures, but their effectiveness depends on the nature of the injury. The surgeon will harvest nerve clusters from other areas of the body and replace the brachial plexus with them. The majority of these procedures restores function in the arm and gives the infant a chance to experience a normal quality of life.
If a doctor injured your child’s brachial plexus during delivery, contact the Bowling Law Firm. David A. Bowling is a New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer who can assess your case to determine if you may be entitled to compensation.
The Bowling Law Firm is an AV-rated law Firm under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule a consultation.