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What Are the Causes of Erb’s Palsy?

Nerve damage sustained at birth can lead to a medical condition called Erb’s palsy. Symptoms of Erb’s palsy can be paralysis, limited mobility or weakness in the affected area. Lack of sensation and underdeveloped muscle tone can also occur as a result. These symptoms arise because the causes of Erb’s palsy involve damage to the nerve network in the upper body. Our Erb’s palsy birth injury attorneys discuss the types and causes of Erb’s palsy below.

What Is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy is a condition that may arise due to a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that supplies feeling and movement to the arms, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers. An injury to this network can create symptoms of paralysis and lack of sensation in the affected areas. Brachial plexus injuries can range in severity, resulting in either permanent or temporary conditions.

There are four main types of Erb’s palsy. The type depends on the extent of the injury sustained. These four types include:

  • Neuropraxia. Neuropraxia occurs when a nerve stretches but does not tear. The nerve experiences a “shock” due to this irritation. Fortunately, this type of nerve injury typically heals within 3 months.
  • Neuroma. Neuroma occurs when a nerve stretches and causes damage to the nerve fibers. This can cause scar tissue to form which may irritate the surrounding nerves. As a result, only a partial recovery is typical for a neuroma nerve injury.
  • Rupture. A rupture occurs when a nerve stretches and tears. This type of nerve injury is severe and requires surgery to rejoin the torn fibers.
  • Avulsions. An avulsion is similar to a rupture, except the nerve is completely torn from the spinal cord. This is the most severe type of nerve injury that causes Erb’s palsy. While surgery can help repair the injury, the affected nerve cannot reattach to the spinal cord.

What Are the Potential Causes of Erb’s Palsy?

Common causes of Erb’s palsy involve excessive pressure on an infant’s head or upper body during delivery. Nerve injuries can also result from tugging on an infant’s shoulders or arms. This tugging or pressure on the head or upper body most frequently occurs during vaginal deliveries. Common causes of Erb’s palsy involve:

  • Extraction tools, like a vacuum or forceps, which can strain or stretch an infant’s upper body
  • Prolonged labor, resulting in the prolonged application of pressure to an infant’s head or upper body
  • A large or broad infant having difficulty exiting the birth canal
  • Breech presentation at birth, making the delivery of an infant difficult or strained
  • Improper manipulation of the infant during birth, causing the infant’s head or shoulder to wedge itself in the birth canal

Contact a Knowledgeable Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury Attorney to Learn More About This Condition

Erb’s palsy may result from medical error or negligence. When a medical professional makes a mistake or mishandles a delivery, an infant is at risk for sustaining a brachial plexus injury.

If your child developed Erb’s palsy due to an injury at birth, you may be able to pursue a legal claim for damages. To learn more about your legal options, contact an Erb’s palsy birth injury attorney at our firm. We can discuss your child’s condition in a free consultation. Get started by calling us at (877) 262-9767 or filling out our confidential online contact form.

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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