Do you need surgery to treat Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is a medical condition where nerves of the brachial plexus (which connect the spinal cord to the nerves that control our arms) are damaged or completely severed. Most commonly caused by abnormal strain on a baby’s shoulder during birth, Erb’s palsy causes loss of sensation as well as limited movement or complete paralysis in the affected arm.

While mild cases of Erb’s palsy can sometimes get better on their own or with just physiotherapy, surgical intervention is often needed to repair the nerve damage and give the patient the best chance of making a good long-term recovery.

How surgery works for Erb’s palsy

Surgical intervention for severe Erb’s palsy, where nerves have been seriously damaged or severed entirely, involves taking healthy nerve fibers from elsewhere in the body and grafting these into the brachial plexus to replace the damaged nerves. This can allow nerve signals from the spinal cord to travel along the replacement nerves to the nerves in the arm, restoring sensation and movement to the affected area.

For more mild cases of Erb’s palsy, surgery may be needed simply to reduce pressure on the damaged nerves, allowing them the space to heal themselves.

Post-surgical rehabilitation support for Erb’s palsy

Following surgery, patients will have physiotherapy to work on their muscle strength and coordination, as well as encouraging the nerve grafts to work effectively. This will typically involve the child working directly with a physiotherapist, as well as parents being taught physiotherapy exercises to carry out with their child regularly at home.

Proper physiotherapy support can make a significant difference to the long-term outcome, giving an Erb’s palsy sufferer the best chance of making a full recovery.

Long-term outcomes for Erb’s palsy

How much of recovery the patient will make depends on the individual circumstances, including how severe the nerve damage was and the quality of rehabilitation care provided. In some cases, a child with Erb’s palsy will make a complete recovery, while in other cases some degree of long-term muscle weakness and numbness may remain.

Patients will usually have a much better chance of making a substantial recovery where surgery is carried out during the first six months after the injury occurs.

Claiming compensation for Erb’s palsy

If your child is suffering from Erb’s palsy, it is essential that they get the right rehabilitation care to give them the best chance of making a full recovery. While much of the care they need can be accessed on the NHS, it is often necessary to use private care providers to ensure they get the very best support. This is one of the main reasons many parents pursue compensation for Erb’s palsy, as this can unlock the funds needed to pay for their child’s care.

If you need to make a compensation claim for Erb’s palsy, it is a good idea to consult with specialist medical negligence solicitors who have experience with these types of claims. This will ensure your claim is handled in the right way from the outset and give you the best chance of securing fair compensation.

 

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