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Are There Different Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries?

1.5 out of every 1,000 live births result in a brachial plexus injury. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are due to malpractice or negligence on behalf of the medical provider. Is your baby suffering from a brachial plexus injury due to medical negligence? If so, then your family may have the option of filing a birth injury lawsuit. Below, our birth injury attorneys discuss the different types of brachial plexus injuries that can occur during childbirth.

What Causes a Brachial Plexus Birth Injury?

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located in the neck region. The nerves are connected to the shoulders, arms and hands. During childbirth, the baby’s shoulder can become stuck against the maternal pubic bone. This is commonly referred to as shoulder dystocia.

If not handled appropriately, a shoulder dystocia can cause the baby’s brachial plexus nerves to stretch, tear or compress, causing injury. If the obstetrician or midwife applies excessive force when attempting to correct a shoulder dystocia it can cause injury to the baby’s brachial plexus nerves. The obstetrician or midwife may also be negligent for not anticipating that shoulder dystocia was a likely outcome. Under these circumstances, you may have a viable birth injury claim. A birth injury attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you of your legal options.

What Are the Main Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries?

Brachial plexus birth injuries are often categorized by the severity of the nerve damage. The four main types of brachial plexus injuries are as follows:

Neurapraxia

This is the most common type of brachial plexus injury. This type of injury typically occurs outside of the spinal cord. The nerves are stretched but not torn. The affected nerves usually make a full recovery within the first three months of a baby’s life.

Rupture

This is also a common type of brachial plexus injury. This type of  injury typically occurs outside of the spinal cord. With a rupture, part of the nerves are actually torn. The affected nerves may require surgical repair in order to heal. However, it is possible for the baby to make a full or partial recovery.

Avulsion

This is a less common form of brachial plexus injury. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of brachial plexus birth injuries are avulsions. However, this type of injury is more severe. With an avulsion, the injury occurs at the spinal cord. The root of the nerve completely separates from the spinal cord. Surgery involving nerve transfers may help to improve the injury, but the child may have permanent impairment of the shoulder, arm, and/or hand.

Neuroma

Scar tissue can form when a nerve attempts to heal itself. Medical experts refer to this as a neuroma. In many cases, the scar tissue that forms will press against the injured nerve. This can interfere with nerve function, resulting in physical complications for your baby. Surgical nerve reconstruction and secondary tendon transfer surgery are the main treatment options for neuroma.

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Situation

Brachial plexus injuries may result permanent impairment and disability. This may place extreme physical, emotional and financial burden on the entire family.

Was your child injured during childbirth? Is he or she suffering from a brachial plexus injury? If so, then you may have a viable claim to recover damages. A birth injury attorney at our firm can help you determine if your obstetrician or midwife violated his or her duty of care when delivering your baby.

For a free consultation, contact us today at (877) 262-9767. You can also send us a message online. We look forward to discussing your situation during a free initial consultation.

The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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