Treatment Options for Brachial Plexus Injuries

Time plays a major role in the recovery from brachial plexus injuries. There are three therapeutic options:

Doctors treat a child with brachial plexus injuries.
  • Time and observation: The team in Children's Pediatric Brachial Plexus Clinic will observe your child during his or her visits to the clnic, which will occur every three months. In infants, the injured nerves often recover completely over the first year of life, allowing full use of the shoulder, arm, and hand. Typically, if there is rapid return of function, then the outcome is better. After a year, if there is minimal improvement in function, sometimes there will be lingering losses in movement.
  • Physical and occupational therapy: During the recovery period, physical therapy can be very helpful in keeping the upper limb flexible. The team in the Pediatric Brachial Plexus Clinic will initiate this therapy through home exercises or outpatient physical therapy. Occupational therapists also help children become more independent in their daily activities. At each visit to the clinic, your child will be followed closely to determine gains in muscle strength.Doctors treat a child with brachial plexus injuries.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be necessary if sufficient muscle function is not restored within a realistic time frame. Sometimes, if improvement occurs but stops, the surgeon may decide to explore the brachial plexus to see if there is something that can be done to improve function. Surgery done directly on the brachial plexus is typically done during the child's first year of life. Sometimes older children with brachial plexus lesions benefit from surgeries such as tendon transfers or bone rotation surgeries.


  • Neurology

    UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
    4401 Penn Avenue
    Floor 2
    Pittsburgh, PA 15224
  • Neurosurgery

    UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
    4401 Penn Avenue
    Floor 2
    Pittsburgh, PA 15224
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    Sewickley, PA 15143
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    205 Millers Run Road
    Bridgeville, PA 15017
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    4055 Monroeville Blvd.
    Building One
    Monroeville, PA 15146
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    11279 Perry Highway
    Wexford, PA 15090
  • Children's Specialty Care Center Erie at Magee–Womens, UPMC Hamot

    Magee–Womens, UPMC Hamot
    118 East 2nd Street
    Erie, PA 16507
  • Children's Specialty Care Center Hermitage

    80 East Silver St., Suite 100
    Sharon, PA 16146
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    865 Eisenhower Blvd.
    Johnstown, PA 15904