Medical Minute 02-24

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

Brachial (break-ee-el) Plexus injuries occur when the head and shoulder are pushed in opposite directions. They can cost kids the use of their arms. But as Andrew McIntosh reports...Now….With some assistance from the dead…doctors are helping children with severe forms of the injury.

When Jake Griffin hurt his arm in a fall, he figured it would get better in a week or two. This home video shows how his struggles continued for much longer.

Jake suffered a Brachial (break-ee-el) Plexus injury. It stretched and even tore nerves that control his right arm. Traditional surgery for these injuries used a nerve graft from the patient's own leg to make the repair.

Doctors at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta are doing something different. After identifying the severed nerves, surgeons use custom-fit nerve grafts from cadavers. Gluing in the donated fibers to bridge, or even reroute the broken connections.

Thanks to some help from beyond the grave…ten months after surgery…Jake's strumming away.

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