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Welcome, medical contents search April 25, 2013
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Erb's Palsy

more about Erb's Palsy

Erb-Duchenne palsy or paralysis

  • Erb's palsy is a weakness of the arm that occurs in newborns.  It is caused when the nerves that control the arm are injured during the birth process.

  • Infants with Erb's palsy hold the affected arm at the side, with their forearm turned inward and their wrist bent.  When a baby with Erb's Palsy is stimulated, the affected arm moves less than the unaffected arm.

  • Erb's palsy is commonly associated with shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when an infant's shoulder gets caught and stretched behind the pelvic bone during delivery.

  • The condition can occur, albeit rarely, without being caused by shoulder dystocia.

  • Diagnosis is made clinically.

  • If there is a question regarding the reason for the weakness, X-rays can rule out a fracture.

  • Larger babies are at a higher risk for deliveries that involve damage to their shoulder, and thus at higher risk for Erb's palsy. For the same reason, mothers who have a smaller pelvic opening will also have a greater risk for delivering an infant with Erb's palsy.

  • Other risk factors include maternal diabetes, prolonged labor, an infant that presents in the breech position or induction of labor.

  • Although an affected infant's arm is often placed in a sling for several weeks to prevent further stretching or rupturing of the affected nerves, specialized therapy isn't the usual course of action.

  • After a period of healing, stretching and range of motion exercises are prequently performed to help the child recover flexibility.

  • Surgical intervention followed by physical therapy may be necessary when a baby demonstrates no functional recovery by four months of age.

  • 75% to 90% of infants with Erb's palsy will recover completely after several months.

  • Complications include permanent, partial, or total loss of function of the affected nerves, causing arm weakness or paralysis.

more about Erb's Palsy

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