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Brachial Plexus Palsy

Pediatric neurologist
Michael Noetzel, MD,
Co-Director of the
Brachial Plexus Palsy Center
evaluates a young patient

Multidisciplinary specialists who treat brachial plexus palsy:

T.S. Park, MD, Co-Director of the Brachial Plexus Palsy Center and pediatric neurosurgeon
Michael Noetzel, MD, Co-Director of the Brachial Plexus Palsy Center and pediatric neurologist

FOR APPOINTMENTS, PHONE (314) 454-2811, TOLL FREE (800) 416-9956 OR FAX (314) 454-2818

For people outside the United States, please visit our International Services

What is brachial plexus palsy?

Brachial plexus palsy is a condition caused during the birth process, which results in weakened or paralyzed muscles in the arm, shoulder, and hand. The injury occurs when the brachial plexus nerve in the shoulder is injured by traction on the shoulder during delivery. Infants affected are often large or breech deliveries, where force is necessary to pull them from the birth canal. When the shoulder is forcibly pressed downward, the brachial plexus can be stretched or injured.

Brachial plexus palsy is usually diagnosed in the newborn infant. Most babies resolve this nerve damage on their own, with total recovery, but some do not recover spontaneously and need physical therapy or surgery to correct the range of movement to the maximum level possible.

What is the Washington University Advantage?

Since 1991, our Brachial Plexus Palsy Center has cared for several hundred children with birth brachial plexus injury and performed repair of the brachial plexus on over a hundred infants. At our multidisciplinary Center, children are examined by a team of pediatric neurosurgeons, neurologists, and therapists. An orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand surgery and a pediatric neurologist also work with children who have persistent muscle weakness.

How do I get more information?

For extensive information, case studies, interactive correspondence and full explanation of cause and treatment of brachial plexus palsy, please visit the web site of the Brachial Plexus Palsy Center. This site will provide pictures of the operations, videos of children who have undergone surgical treatment, outline the risks and benefits of the procedure and introduce you to members of the team.

T.S.Park, MD, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, will answer questions about treatment for your child via

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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine