What Treatment is Available?
Babies are left untreated for the first 2-3 days of their life so that the nerves are given a chance to recover. Before the baby goes home physiotherapy is commenced.
Once the baby is at home, a complete passive range of movement is started, to keep the joints and muscles healthy. This treatment is provided by the physiotherapist. The affected arm should be moved so that it mimics the normal movement of the good arm.
The baby should be encouraged to feel the arm and maybe suck the fingers, this is done so that maximum sensation can reach the brain and the baby does not forget it has another arm to use. It is not advised to pin the baby's arm to the cot or to use any kind of splint with restricts the arm's movement.
If after two months the affected arm has not recovered it is recommended that the child is seen by a specialist in this form of injury. There are many techniques that can be used to help the arm.
Some of these are:
Nerve conduction test to ascertain the state of the nerves
Nerves are taken from donor sites and are used to graft the nerves that have been either damaged or torn.
Muscle transfers into the shoulder to give the arm a wider range of movement.
Tendo transfers to the wrist, to give the wrist and fingers more movement
Neuromuscular stimulators may contribute to the prevention or retardation of disuse muscle atrophy