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New Technology Could Help Guide Brachial Plexus Surgeries, Pt. 1

A team of researchers from the University of Delaware is adapting a suite of motion analysis technology systems to help victims of brachial plexus birth palsy. Brachial plexus birth palsy is a potentially serious birth injury that can have lifelong consequences for victims and their families. If this new approach is successful, doctors will be able to provide better treatment for these individuals.

Also known as Erb's Palsy, brachial plexus birth palsy occurs when an injury affects the group of nerves in the brachial plexus area of the neck and shoulder. In most cases, these injuries happen during childbirth. If a doctor pulls an infant's head and neck to the side while the shoulders as passing through the birth canal, serious injury to the nerves can result.

Erb's Palsy damages the muscle function between the shoulder and the arm. Although many victims are able to develop past this damage, many others will have long-term difficulties, including weakness and paralysis in the area.

One of the things that makes it hard for doctors to effectively treat these injuries is that it is hard to determine how the shoulder blade is working and moving inside the body. This problem is the focus of the University of Delaware research project - it hopes to provide a more accurate map to how individual victims' injuries affect movement. This understanding would help guide treatment attempts.

Check back later for more information about this new research and the optimism it offers for birth injury victims.

Source: UDaily, "Marking the spot," Diane Kukich, Feb. 27, 2013

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