Brachial plexus birth palsy
We push innovation in our department by sub-specializing--gaining ever more expertise with complex problems, and developing ever newer methods.
--Peter Waters, MD, clinical chief, Orthopedic Center; director, Brachial Plexus Program, Boston Children's Hospital
If your baby or child has been diagnosed with brachial plexus birth palsy (BPBP), we know that you and your family are worried about her future, and maybe even under some stress. So, please know that at Children’s Hospital Boston, we will approach your child’s treatment and care with sensitivity and support—for your child and your whole family.
If your child has BPBP, it means that during childbirth she had an injury to the brachial plexus (BP) network of nerves that travel from her neck, through the shoulder region down to the arm and hand. The BP nerve network provides the electrical power to all the muscles of her arm.
- BPBP occurs in about one to three out of every 1,000 babies born.
The condition’s severity and type depend on:
- where in the nerve injury occurs
- whether the injury is a stretch, an incomplete tear or a complete tear (avulsion)
- In over half of cases, the injury heals itself within the first month to six weeks.
- Nerve surgery may be recommended if marked weakness persists after three to six months.
- Some children benefit from muscle, tendon, bone and joint surgery between years age 2-5 years.
- BPBP is a serious but treatable condition.
How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches brachial plexus birth palsy
You can have peace of mind knowing that the team in Children’s Brachial Plexus Program has treated hundreds to thousands of babies and children—as well as adolescents, young adults and even professional athletes who’ve sustained traumatic BP injury.
Some of the world’s most advanced clinical research into BP anatomy and treatment is coming from Children’s researchers. So, we can provide your child with expert diagnosis, treatment and care—as well as the benefits of some of the best BPBP clinical and scientific research in the world.
As one of the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary programs, Children’s Orthopedic Center is the nation’s largest and most experienced pediatric orthopedic surgery center, performing more than 6,000 surgical procedures each year. Our program—ranked among the top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report—is the preeminent care and research center for children and young adults with congenital, neuromuscular, developmental and post-traumatic musculoskeletal problems.
As a national and international referral center for children with brachial plexus birth palsy, the Brachial Plexus Program within the Orthopedic Care Center is among the largest in the world—caring for more than 1200 children with brachial plexus birth palsy since its inception.
Using a research- and innovation-driven approach, our program’s team of surgeons, nurses and therapists provides services that include:
- microsurgical reconstruction
- nerve grafts and transfers
- tendon transfers
- open and arthroscopic reduction of infantile shoulder dislocations
- physical therapy and occupational therapy
- parental support
clinical and basic science research
Brachial plexus birth palsy: Reviewed by Peter Waters, MD
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2011
|If you live far from Boston, we can help|
As an international pediatric orthopedics center, Children’s treats young patients from all over the world. Our International Center assists families residing outside the United States: We facilitate the medical review of patient records; coordinate appointment scheduling; and help families with customs and immigration, transportation, hotel and housing accommodations.
|A long line of orthopedic firsts|
With a long history of excellence and innovation and a team of clinicians and researchers at the forefront of orthopedic research and care, Children’s is home to many treatment breakthroughs: