Pediatric Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Center

Pediatric Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Center

Hope for healing of plexus and other peripheral nerve injuries!

The brain and spinal cord continually transmit and receive information to and from the rest of the body through a complex network of peripheral nerves which send signals outward to muscles and receive incoming signals from the senses. That is why functions such as muscle strength or sensory perception can be lost if a nerve is injured. The brachial plexus is a specific network of peripheral nerves located in the neck that extend from the spinal cord to and from the shoulder, arms, and hands. Modern neuroscience has discovered that injured peripheral nerves can regenerate and reconnect if they are provided with a pathway that directs the nerve’s regrowth to its proper point of reconnection. For this reason, there are neurosurgical and rehabilitative therapy techniques which can often lead to restoration of lost function after a nerve injury has occurred. For this reason, the New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute has established a collaborative, team-approach, multidisciplinary center of excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of brachial plexus and other peripheral nerve injuries which occur in newborns, infants, and children, and adolescents.

Our Multispecialty Collaborative Center 

The pediatric neurosurgeons, neurologists, plastic surgeon, and physiatrist of the New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute have partnered with an outstanding pediatric therapy group with pediatric occupation therapists and physical therapists highly skilled in evaluation and treatment of infants, children and adolescents. We all work together as a cooperative multispecialty team which provides comprehensive diagnosis and effective treatment of brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries or other types of peripheral nerve dysfunctions.

The Conditions We Treat

  • Brachial plexus injuries (trauma to the network of nerve roots which extend nerve connections to the muscle and skin of the shoulder, arm, and hand)
    • In newborn infants, brachial plexus and its associated nerve injuries can occur due to a difficult birth that causes stretch of the neck during a complex delivery
    • In an older child brachial plexus or peripheral nerve injuries can occur from motor vehicle accidents (all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, motorbikes, or cars)
  • Peripheral nerve injuries
    • Individual focal nerve injuries that can occur from falls, motor vehicle accidents or sports injuries
  • Nerve palsies: compression or injury to a nerve that can cause pain, numbness or weakness
  • Nerve compression syndromes
    • Median or ulnar palsies caused by nerve compression at the wrist or the elbow and cause hand pain, numbness and/or weakness
    • Common peroneal palsy caused by nerve compression in the leg causing outer leg and top of the foot numbness and sometimes weakness causing “drop foot.
  • Tumors of the peripheral nerves (can cause pain, numbness or weakness)
    • Schwannomas 
    • Neurofibromas

 

Our Teamwork Approach to Evaluation and Treatment

 
When you have an infant, child or teen-age son or daughter with a suspected brachial plexus or peripheral nerve injury, the care that our Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Center provides begins with a member of our multispecialty clinical team contacting you to obtain necessary background medical information concerning your child. The first clinical visit will then take place at the NJPNI office in Morristown, in New Jersey, where parents with their child will be introduced to many of the surgeons and therapists who are an essential part of this treatment team.

On that day, one of the pediatric neurosurgeons will perform a neurological examination, the pediatric physiatrist will provide measurements of the patient’s available ranges of passive joint motion and the pediatric occupational therapists will determine exactly which muscle functions are affected by the condition and score the severity of each muscle’s function or disfunction.

You will also receive a schedule of three or four subsequent follow up occupational therapy evaluation and treatment sessions which will take place very nearby at the Springboard Pediatric Therapy facility. If you wish, you may have a tour of that brand new, state-of-the-art therapy center. The therapy sessions available there can help to promote natural nerve healing. Those scheduled sequential sessions will also determine whether some nerve dysfunctions are failing to improve. As part of these evaluations, a collaborating pediatric physical therapist may prescribe helpful therapies that can be performed at home. The pediatric neurosurgeon will also provide follow-up appointments at the NJPNI office to determine whether additional studies such as MRI scans or electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction tests are needed.

If natural nerve healing fails to occur, the pediatric neurosurgeon will then provide follow-up to explain whether a state-of the art nerve operation is recommended to enable restoration of the lost nerve function. The patient and parents will also meet the pediatric plastic surgeon who operates together with the pediatric neurosurgeon when performing those microsurgical nerve procedures.

Whenever surgical treatment is performed, post operative physical and occupational therapies are also provided to assure the best possible improvements in function. If a surgical nerve treatment is not recommended or not chosen as a treatment, then further physiatry evaluations and both physical and occupational therapies will continue to be provided for ongoing treatment.

To Make a Patient Referral or Make an Initial Appointment

Contact Us For more information or to schedule an appointment with our Pediatric Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Center Clinic, please contact us at 973-326-9000.

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Caring for your child's well-being is our number one priority. 
Schedule an appointment with a world-class pediatric neurology and neurosurgery team at NJPNI now.
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NOTICE: This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for a patient/physician relationship.

NJPNI is committed to creating a culturally diverse, inclusive and collaborative community for patients and their families, employees and associates where each person is celebrated and has a sense of equal belonging. See our DEI Statement Page for more information.

NJPNI does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, or on the basis of disability or age in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits of any of its programs and activities or in employment therein. This statement is in accordance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued pursuant to the Acts, Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations part 80, 84, and 91.

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