Management of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy evaluation, prognosis, and primary surgical treatment.
Primary surgery for obstetrical brachial plexus lesions is a young field of surgical expertise that offers the possibility of improved functional ability in carefully selected patients who would otherwise be faced with lifelong impairment and secondary skeletal deformities. One major challenge in this area of peripheral nerve surgery is the selection of patients most likely to derive benefit from surgical intervention. The key to the development of selection criteria and to the resolution of other considerations (such as the determination of root avulsion) is consistency, accuracy, and careful reporting of natural history and outcome data. In particular, we strongly feel that a statistically sound technique of assessment must be consistently applied from the time of presentation through long-term follow-up. Advancement to date has resulted from the application of evidence-based recommendations from large, well-designed, meticulous studies. As the field of obstetrical brachial plexopathy management continues to evolve, we can expect that questions will continue to be answered using such scientific methodology.
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