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Pathogenesis and management of deformities of the elbow, wrist, and hand in late neonatal brachial plexus palsy.

The incidence of neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) has remained relatively stable despite awareness of the problem and improved obstetric techniques. Deformities of the forearm and hand can result either from untreated NBPP or following early microsurgical nerve reconstruction. These deformities include limb length discrepancy, flexion contracture of the elbow, supination or pronation contractures of the forearm, ulnar deviation of the wrist, and varying types of finger paralysis. The treatment options for these deformities consist of soft tissue releases, corrective osteotomies, tendon transfers, joint fusions, and/or free muscle transfers. Rehabilitation and physical therapy treatment are critical after these procedures. This article reviews the pathogenesis of the common deformities seen in a late presentation of NBPP, the assessment of these children, and provides a reconstructive strategy for the management of this difficult problem.

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