Brachial Plexus Prognosis

What Does the Prognosis Look Like?

If your child receives a diagnosis for a brachial plexus injury, the prognosis depends on the severity. In some cases, Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy will clear up after six months, but you have severe cases of this birth disorder where the disability will remain a constant reminder. The loss of movement in the shoulders, arms, or hands could stay with the child for life. In that way, brachial plexus injuries have many resemblances to cerebral palsy because they both cause paralysis. In general, however, cerebral palsy bears a prognosis that is grimmer than brachial plexus injuries.  Most infants with a brachial plexus injury will recover, however, some symptoms may persist.

Get Early Treatment

Your child may only have a mild case of it, but you should still seek early treatment. While the milder cases could heal on their own, severe cases may require medical attention. Doctors will most often recommend surgery to treat severe injuries such as a tear or avulsion. The doctor might graft a donated nerve to the damaged portion to aid with the process of healing. Especially for cases where you need surgery, the earlier the treatment, the lower the risk that your child will suffer permanent consequences. In general, doctors will evaluate the child after three to six months. Physicians wait because they want to see if the child will need surgery to repair the brachial nerves.

Anatomy of the Brachial Plexus

Five nerves within the brachial plexus make up this nervous system. They first originate near the spinal cord at the neck, and the nerves connect the sensations in the skin. In addition, the nerves permit movements of the body. You have a brachial plexus found on each side of the body, and the nerves carry sensory information from the body up to the brain.

The five anatomical sections of the brachial plexus include:

  • Branches
  • Trunks
  • Spinal nerves
  • Divisions
  • Cords

If the nerve is only mildly stretched, it may heal itself. In other words, the brachial plexus injury prognosis looks favorable. However, there are cases where you may still require a gentle form of therapy for your infant to make a full recovery. The symptoms of the injury vary based on location and severity. You need a qualified doctor to evaluate your child and give an educated diagnosis. A brachial plexus injury closer to the spinal cord will typically cause more pain versus one farther away from it.

Expert

Elena Amato Borrelli, Expert

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