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Management of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy with early plexus microreconstruction and late muscle transfers.

Birth brachial plexus injury usually affects the upper roots. In most cases, spontaneous reinnervation occurs in a variable degree. This aberrant reinnervation leaves characteristic deformities of the shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. Common sequelae are the internal rotation and adduction deformity of the shoulder, elbow flexion contractures, forearm supination deformity, and lack of wrist extension and finger flexion. Nowadays, the strategy in the management of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy focuses in close follow-up of the baby up to 3-6 months and if there are no signs of recovery, microsurgical repair is indicated. Nonetheless, palliative surgery consisting of an ensemble of secondary procedures is used to further improve the overall function of the upper extremity in patients who present late or fail to improve after primary management. These secondary procedures include transfers of free vascularized and neurotized muscles. We present and discuss our experience in treating early and/or late obstetrical palsies utilizing the above-mentioned microsurgical strategy and review the literature on the management of brachial plexus birth palsy.

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