[Obstetric brachial palsy, a historical review].Rev Neurol 2012; 55(10):619-25RN
Lesions of the peripheral nerves have been known since ancient times, but there are few references to the treatments that were used in the past. AIM. To analyse obstetric brachial palsy and its treatments throughout history.
There are a number of different references to the peripheral nerves and their lesions, although little is known about the treatments that were applied in the past. William Smellie first reported obstetric brachial palsy in 1764 and the term was coined by Duchenne de Boulogne in 1872. In 1877, Erb analysed four cases of obstetric brachial palsy and conducted studies on the excitation of the brachial plexus with electric currents. In 1885, Klumpke described palsy of the lower roots of the brachial plexus. In the late 19th century pathophysiology studies were carried out and at the beginning of the 20th century the first surgical interventions were performed. Today, microsurgery techniques, protocols on how to proceed, and rehabilitation treatment of this lesion are all available and offer good outcomes.
Since the first clinical description of obstetric brachial palsy by Smellie and the reports of the different types of brachial palsy by Duchenne, Erb and Klumpke, many pathophysiological studies have been conducted. Notable developments have been made in conservative and surgical treatments, with very favourable recoveries being observed in children with obstetric brachial palsy.