It is essential that treatment for a Brachial Plexus injury be
obtained as soon as possible from experienced medical
professionals who specialize in treating Brachial Plexus
injuries. Early treatment for Brachial Plexus injuries most
likely will include occupational and/or physical therapy to help
maximize use of the affected arm while preventing contactures
(tightening of the muscles and joints).
It is important to note that even with ongoing therapy
treatment and surgical intervention, complete recovery from a
Brachial Plexus injury may not occur.
What can be expected with treatment?
Most mild cases of Brachial Plexus injuries recover in 3 to 4
months. The more severe cases improve slowly over 18 to 21
months. By 2 years of age, any recovery that will occur should
have occurred, and no further improvement is expected. Treatment
consists of Physical Therapy and Surgery.
Therapy for Brachial Plexus Injuries
An occupational or physical therapist will work with your child.
The therapist will also help you (the parent) learn to do the
exercises. Most parents need to do the range of motion exercises
at home with their children two to three times a day for several
We recommend daily exercises that help to keep the muscles and
joints moving normally. They are called range of motion
- Provide tactile stimulation to provide sensory awareness
- Use exercise to develop strength.
- Most exercises inclus tasks to increase flexibility, stength
If your child is not able to use muscles in the arm and hand,
these muscles will stay weak. The arm may not grow normally, and
your child may feel tightness in some muscles and joints. A joint
that stays in the same position all the time can actually
"freeze". Exercises keep the muscles and joints flexible. When
the nerves start working better, the muscles and joints will be
ready to work.
Surgery for Brachial Plexus Injuries
Surgery may help children who do not recover by the age of 5
months. Nerve surgery is most effective when it is done between
the ages of 5 and 12 months and becomes less effective after 1
year. Nevertheless, surgical correction for permanent disability
or deformity can be performed in the school-aged child where
For some children, neurosurgery is not recommended or is not
sucessful. In these instances, other procedures can be done to
transfer muscles and tendons. This surgery is done by a plastic
surgeon when the child is older.
Paying for medical care
The costs for treatment and surgery could overwhelm most
families. Families must be able to dedicate long hours to
doctor's visits and treatment. Financial support may be available
to families in the form of legal compensation.