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Brachial plexus injury: paediatric

Published on 13 April 2022

The Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injury Service (OBPIS) assesses, diagnoses and treats young children with an injury to the brachial plexus region. Complications during childbirth commonly cause these injuries. After assessment in the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, children usually receive therapeutic treatment. Occasionally they need specialist shoulder surgery.

What is an obstetric brachial plexus injury?

This is a common injury in perinatal children who suffer a stretching of the complex of nerves that supply the upper limb (shoulder) as they emerge from the neck. Difficult childbirth is often the reason for the injury. Damage can also arise from other traumatic causes. Sometimes, it's a consequence of tumours in the region of the brachial plexus.

Medical staff and physiotherapists assess children with referral to the service in the outpatient clinic. They reach a diagnosis and likely prognosis. Experts then formulate a management plan. This covers ongoing physiotherapy, investigations when necessary and monitoring of progress.

An outreach clinic is available in Aberdeen to facilitate access to the service by patients from remote areas.

Further information is also available on the Brachial Plexus Injury Service website.

Lead clinician

Mr Timothy Hems, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


Scottish National Brachial Plexus Injury Service
New Victoria Hospital
Grange Road
G42 9LF

NSD contact

NSD Specialist Services

Please note that NSD does not directly provide medical services and we won't be able to answer queries about your own care or appointments. If you would like to discuss any aspects of your care, please contact your primary healthcare provider. This might be your GP, Consultant, Nurse or other healthcare professional. They will be best placed to give you the right advice.