Correction of brachial plexus injuries in children

Corrective realignment surgery for brachial plexus injuries in children during birth.

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Surgery for brachial plexus palsy

This procedure aims to correct shoulder deformities in children caused by brachial plexus palsy — muscle weakness in the shoulder, arm and hand. This condition is caused by injury to the brachial plexus during birth.

The brachial plexus is a group of nerve fibres stemming from the spine and through the neck. If pressure is applied to the baby's head during delivery, these nerves can become damaged causing complete paralysis and weakness.

Left untreated, this condition can cause shoulder abnormalities during the growth of the child. This is because the arm bone isn't fitting the shoulder socket (glenoid). This means that the head doesn't sit properly in the socket and this must be corrected to avoid progressive deterioration and improve function.

Need to know

This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, so your child will be asleep throughout. A cut is made at the front and if needed, at back of the shoulder (osteotomy) so the surgeon can access the joint.

This releases the tendons and the head is put back into the socket. If the socket is deficient at the back, the shoulder blade (scapula) is remodelled in order to contain the head. The child is often given a plaster jacket to wear for a few weeks in order to protect the surgery.
Your consultant will explain the procedure and answer any questions you have. In the week before surgery, it’s important that your child stays healthy. Let your consultant know if your child has recently had a cold or a sore throat, as surgery may need to be postponed to reduce the risk of complications.

Because general anaesthetic is used during the procedure, your child may need to fast for several hours before the operation. Your consultant will tell you how long they should avoid eating and drinking. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects. Your consultant will explain these to you.
After the child has healed from the procedure and the cast has been removed, they will need intensive physiotherapy to improve the function and to learn how to move the shoulder. This will take several weeks/months.

You will have regular follow-up appointments with your consultant, who will monitor your child's progress with regular follow-ups. They will be happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you might have.
Hospital stay and procedure


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Correction of brachial plexus injuries in children Consultants

Mr Marco Sinisi

Mr Marco Sinisi


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The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.