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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Klumpke’s Palsy – Prognosis

Klumpke’s Palsy is a condition that primarily affects newborns, though it may also occur in other instances. It happens when the lower brachial plexus has been damaged, or more specifically, the C8 and T1 nerves. This condition is most common when a baby has a difficult birth.

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Natural Recovery

Elk & Elk

Treatment is available for Klumpke’s Palsy, depending on the severity of the injury. In some cases, a natural recovery may occur. The nerves may regrow, usually at a rate of one inch per month. The nerves must be able to reattach to the original targets in the muscles. According to statistics, around two-thirds of children with this injury get better with very little treatment. In many of these cases, the only treatment necessary is gentle range of motion that the parents may do at home.

Other treatments may be necessary to improve the prognosis of other children with limited range of motion or decreased sensations in their arms as well as weakness in the muscles.

Over the Long Term

It is important that you understand that Klumpke’s Palsy is a condition that has life-long effects. The focus becomes on management rather than full recovery. The goal is often to minimize limitations and deficits and maximize the child’s abilities.

For most children, they will have as much as 90 percent or even 100 percent use of the limb. Recovery may take as long as six months for mild or moderate injuries. Severe injuries can last for years or even cause permanent damage. The most serious cases result from avulsion, which is the separation of the C8 and T1 nerves from the spine. As the injury heals, scar tissue often forms. Surgery may be necessary to remove the scar tissue, which could improve the function of the arm and reduce the limitations.

Prognosis for patients with Klumpke’s Palsy is good, with at least partial use if not full use of the affected limb in many of the cases. For those who have limitations, they are often able to adapt and continue to enjoy a relatively normal life.