Having your child suffer from childbirth is among the most gut-wrenching things that a mother has to deal with. There are many mothers who feel guilty about the hardships that their child has to go through. Birth traumas like brachial plexus injuries can have long-term effects. Thankfully, the healthcare industry is now receptive to advancements in diagnostics, therapies, and overall management of such cases. In this post, we’ll look at the current diagnostic practices and advanced treatment options available for brachial plexus injuries.
Current Diagnostic Modalities
Some of the currently used diagnostic modalities for damaged brachial plexus include:
Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance Neurography
In the past, most doctors would use standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to localize the injury, specifically near the damaged nerve roots. However, without a 3-D image of the nerve sheaths, it was difficult to fully visualize the extent of the injuries and the adjacent structures.
Diagnostic modalities have evolved to include diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance neurography that allows doctors and surgeons to see the structures more accurately with 3-D images. Due to this, medical professionals can now make a proper assessment of how to approach treatment.
High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Neurography
Aside from diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance neurography, doctors now also use high-resolution magnetic resonance neurography. This process is ideal to use when aiming for identifying the present condition of the nerve, such as whether there are ruptures and the severity of each injury, particularly in the plexus’ distal area.
The goal of the diagnostic modalities given above is to provide surgeons the best information that can help them decide on how to approach the surgery. Some of the surgical interventions commonly used are:
New Nerve Transfer
The ultimate goal of surgical treatment is to restore the function of the nerves. This is the reason that they often do new nerve transfers, which must be done as close as possible to the target muscle. Many notable successful nerve transfers have been done in the past, specifically through the introduction of the donor’s nerves. Since this technique is pretty straightforward and does not necessitate reeducation of the muscle, it is one of the ideal surgical options.
Another surgical option that patients with brachial plexus injuries can opt to have is the nerve graft. In this procedure, the vascularized nerve grafts can help address scarred beds and reconstruct more significant nerve injuries. While results have produced positive results, its use has been controversial, as its complications can result in complete rejection of the graft.
Some technological advancements in the healthcare industry helped to pave the way for improved function among patients with brachial plexus injuries. Some of them are:
Gone are the days when people could only watch in awe as Tony Starks quickly transformed himself into an Iron-Man. Now, with the advent of robotics, people can be their own superhero. With the help of robotics, those with problems with their brachial plexus can more easily live a “normal” life.
Many developers and technocrats are now funding research on brain-computer interface (BCI). Since there would be a direct connection of the brain to a motorized part of a body, such as an arm, it is easier for them to gain full control of their extremities. This technology looks promising but still has to hurdle tons of ethical considerations to become fully implemented.
Technology can be scary but for those with brachial plexus injuries, it can be a welcome idea. Technological advancements to date have already improved the lives of people with this birth injury.