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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Orthopedics Volume 33, Issue 6, June 2010. The published version is available at DOI: 10.3928/01477447-20100429-25. Copyright © Slack Inc.


Neonatal brachial plexus palsy may be decreasing in incidence; however, conflicting reports exist. Regardless, neonatal brachial plexus palsy has an incidence of 1 to 2 per 1000 live births making this a frequent occurrence. The majority of infants with brachial plexus palsy spontaneously recover in the first 2 months of life and subsequently progress to near complete recovery of motion and strength. However, those infants who do not have substantial recovery by age 3 months will have permanent limited range of motion, less strength, and a decrease in size and girth of the involved extremity. Currently, debate continues about the timing and type of surgical intervention. This article provides an update based on recent literature regarding the anatomy, epidemiology, diagnosis, classification schemes, and treatment options for neonatal brachial plexus palsy.

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