This Palsy can occur as a result of the birthing process, most commonly when a shoulder becomes lodged while in the birth canal. The large network of nerves that run between the neck and shoulder are known as the Brachial Plexus. When nerves are temporarily or permanently damaged, reconstructive surgery may be required in addition to physiotherapy to optimise the arm and hand function in the treatment of Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy. 

Dr Thomas’ appointment at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne as part of the hand and microsurgeons sees him involved in the multidisciplinary team to treat Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy.

Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy affects the messages the brain tries to send through the nerves to the arm. The baby may have muscle weakness and not be able to move their arm. The baby’s sensitivity to heat and or pain may also be impacted. Muscle wastage will occur if left untreated. 


  • Babies who are assessed to have an injury that nerve reconstructive surgery will provide an improved long-term functional outcome
  • As a child grows there may be muscle or tendon transfers around the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand that can assist function

About the procedure

Surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Nerves that require reconstruction are carefully resected, and replaced by spare nerves from the leg(s) as nerve grafts. Nerve transfers may also be performed instead of or as well as nerve grafting.

What to expect after the procedure

Following the recovery from the surgical procedure, a comprehensive physiotherapy program will take place to optimise the recovery chances.

Procedure Info

Dr Damon Thomas is dedicated to continuously improve the quality of medical and surgical procedures and creating new standards of innovation. His area of expertise are focused primarily in paediatric hand, adult hand, microsurgery, reconstructive surgery, and all other aspects of aesthetic and cosmetic surgery. In addition to surgical treatments, non-surgical cosmetic options are offered as well, including injectable treatments and skin rejuvenation.

View Gallery