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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

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Klumpke’s Palsy – Related Conditions

Klumpke’s Palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury, which is most often seen in newborns. It is a rare condition, according to the Office of Rare Diseases with a rate of about 1.5 per 1,000 births. However, it is just one condition that relates to this area of the body.

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What is Klumpke’s Palsy?

Elk & Elk

The condition occurs when the C8 and T1 nerves are damaged. They may be either torn or stretched, which limits the ability for signals to get through to the muscles in the arm or hand. The condition may be mild and heal itself in a few weeks or with some gentle exercises. It may also be severe and require physical therapy and even surgery. In some cases, the damage is permanent.

Klumpke’s Palsy occurs during childbirth when the muscles and nerves in the neck are stretched with delivery. It may happen when the doctor has to assist with delivery or as the baby moves through the birth canal.

Other Injuries to the Brachial Plexus

Klumpke’s Palsy is an obstetric injury, which means it mainly occurs during childbirth. There are also traumatic injuries, which means the injury occurred as a result of an accident. Examples of this include falls, car accidents, and even gunshot wounds.

Parsonage-Turner Syndrome is another condition which affects the brachial plexus. It is an inflammation of this region which was not caused by an injury. However, the results are similar in that the person will have limited mobility and sensation. It is often accompanied by severe pain along the shoulder. A few days later, the shoulder is paralyzed. The person may experience atrophy of the muscles with limited or no reflexes. However, sensory loss is not usually noticeable with this condition.

Erb’s palsy is a condition which is similar to Klumpke’s palsy except it affects the upper plexus rather than the lower plexus. It can also occur due to difficulty in childbirth. If a child falls on the neck at a wrong angle, it can damage the nerves and cause loss of movement.

Damage to the C5 and C6 nerves results in Erb’s palsy. It impacts the hand extensor muscles and arm flexors as well as the lateral rotators of the shoulder.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

When the brachial plexus is compressed or other neurovascular structures such as the vertebral artery, subclavian vessels or cervical ganglia, it can result in thoracic outlet syndrome. This condition may be acquired from an injury, or it may be congenital or a condition someone is born with.

The compression may be caused by soft tissue from cervical strain, poor posture, or other issues. It can also result from bone compressions such as the C7 vertebra, a fracture of the clavicle, first rib, or a cervical rib.

Burner Syndrome

This condition generally affects the C5 and C6 and is often either a stretch of the brachial plexus or compression of the nerve roots. This injury often occurs in athletes or may be caused by cervical stenosis or cervical disc disease.

To determine which condition you may have, a doctor will need to review the symptoms and possibly perform digital image tests to determine the location of the injury. This step will be necessary before the right treatment can be prescribed to begin recovery.