Obstetric traction injuries of the brachial plexus. Natural history, indications for surgical repair and results

R S Boome, J C Kaye
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. British Volume 1988, 70 (4): 571-6
Of a consecutive series of 70 babies with obstetric traction injury to the brachial plexus we were able to review 40 who had had only conservative treatment. We found that if recovery in the upper roots had not started by three months of age then, at follow-up there was a significant residual functional deficit. In a further 22 babies who showed no recovery of the upper roots by three months, exploration and sural nerve grafting were performed; 20 of these children were reviewed at one year. Good recovery of the deltoid was seen in 80% and of the biceps in 55%, while 25% had good external rotation at the shoulder. We conclude that if there is disruption of the upper roots with no sign of recovery at three months, grafting of these roots provides the best chance of useful recovery.

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