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What causes Erb’s palsy and what are the risk factors?

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

When you go to the hospital to deliver your child in Illinois, you must rely on the delivering doctor and other medical staff to oversee your infant’s safe delivery. Sometimes, difficult deliveries, the actions of your medical team or both lead to unanticipated hardships and birth injuries. Brachial plexus palsy, or Erb’s palsy, is one such condition that may result.

Per the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Erb’s palsy is a relatively rare, but potentially very serious, condition that affects the movement of an infant’s arm. Sometimes, children with Erb’s palsy make full recoveries. However, in other instances, they struggle with weakness or paralysis in the affected arm, or they may have one arm grow faster and larger than the other.

Erb’s palsy causes

Most cases of brachial plexus palsy result from a medical professional pulling the infant’s neck sharply to one side during delivery or pulling too hard to remove the baby from the birth canal. When this occurs, the nerves in the infant’s neck may also stretch, leading to injuries and other complications.

Erb’s palsy risk factors

While Erb’s palsy may occur during any delivery, there are certain circumstances under which it becomes more likely. If the baby is particularly large, this raises risks. A baby in the breech position or prolonged labor also raises the risks of brachial plexus palsy.

If you believe your infant son or daughter may have Erb’s palsy, you may want to schedule a visit with your pediatrician for a formal diagnosis. He or she may perform an X-ray, an ultrasound or an MRI to find out more about your child’s condition.