The Brachial Plexus Clinic at Seattle Children’s cares for children who have a problem with the nerves that go to their arm — most often brachial plexus palsy. If there are problems with these nerves, your child may have trouble controlling their muscles or feeling sensation on their skin.
Many children with brachial plexus palsy recover on their own. But if the condition does not get better within 1 month, it usually has lasting effects. That is why we urge parents to have their child checked 1 month after their birth or injury if they are not fully recovered. An early therapy program can reduce problems with stiffness or other bone problems that can happen. Early assessment also helps if surgery is needed because the results are often better when performed earlier.
Some children need ongoing care for brachial plexus problems. If your child does, we will follow them throughout childhood, adapting their treatment plan as their needs change.
Read more about the Brachial Plexus Clinic in our story “New Hope for Damaged Nerves.”
Why choose Seattle Children’s Brachial Plexus Clinic?
Our multidisciplinary clinic is the only one of its kind for children in the Northwest and one of only a few in the country. A team of providers with special training in many areas will assess your child. The team includes doctors who specialize in:
Your child also will receive care from nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and social workers who are dedicated to treating children with brachial plexus palsy.
Your team creates a treatment plan designed to get the best results for your child. This may include:
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Botulinum toxin injections
- A combination of these treatments
We base our treatment plans on the latest evidence about which therapies are most likely to help and when they should be used.
Our radiologists have special expertise using ultrasound to look for bone changes. This helps us start treatment early and prevent future bone and joint problems that often happen with brachial plexus palsy. We always try nonsurgical treatments first, including splinting options that are tailored to your child’s specific needs. In some children, ultrasound monitoring and splinting may reduce the need for future surgery. We are the only hospital in Washington to offer this. Most children do not require surgery. For those who do, splinting and therapy combined with surgery results in better, lasting flexibility and range of motion than surgery alone.