Brachial Plexus
What to Expect

What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Brachial Plexus Center

The Brachial Plexus Team at Cincinnati Children’s cares for children with brachial plexus injuries that affect the complex network of nerves that provide movement and feeling in the shoulder, arm and hand. Your child will receive care from brachial plexus experts, including orthopaedic surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, and occupational therapists.

We coordinate your child’s care, so you spend less time seeking services through multiple providers. In addition, we provide consistent communication with your child’s providers regarding their progress and help you find the right caregivers for your child’s needs.

Together, we can improve your child’s quality of life. Learn more about to expect when you visit our center.

Making an Appointment at the Brachial Plexus Center

Please contact us for an appointment if your child has a brachial plexus injury.

We also offer online second opinions for patients and families inside the United States who live beyond the Greater Cincinnati area.

Preparing for Your Visit

Please work with our program specialist when scheduling your first appointment. She will assist in obtaining prior records and testing such as:

  • Reports from previous doctor visits, including pediatricians, orthopaedic specialists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and therapists
  • Test results from past electromyography (EMG) procedures, magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans, and X-rays

Please come to your first appointment with the following:

  • A written list of questions for team members
  • A written list of functional goals that you and your child would like to work toward

Dress your child in clothing that allows access to the entire affected arm, shoulder and upper back. Feel free to bring a snack for your child, since clinic appointments may run into the lunch or dinner hour.

On the Day of Your Visit at the Brachial Plexus Center

Before Your Appointment

Please arrive in the clinic 15 minutes before your appointment. Our offices are on the first floor of Location A at our Burnet Campus, which is a large facility. Please allow an extra 15 minutes to park and walk to our offices.

Please contact us if you are running late for your appointment.

At Your Appointment

The Brachial Plexus Center has appointments on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings, so you child’s first visit will take place during one of those times. During this visit, your child will meet physicians and therapists for an evaluation. The evaluation may include:

  • Discussion of personalized goals
  • Range of motion in both arms through reaching and assisted movements
  • Strength
  • Ability to feel in the affected arm

We will use standardized tests for brachial plexus injuries, such as the Toronto Score, Mallet Classification, Narakas Classification and Active Movement Scale. We’ll also talk to you about the goals for your child and what goals your child has for themselves.

We may also recommend tests such as:

  • X-ray
  • EMG
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound

Your child might need X-rays before meeting with our team. We take X-rays in the Radiology Department next to our clinic area. Once testing is complete, a Medical Assistant will accompany you and your child to a treatment room to gather medical history and other necessary information.

After Your Visit at the Brachial Plexus Center

Based on your child’s evaluation and goals, we’ll create an individualized treatment plan and therapy program. We may refer your child for therapy services such as:

  • Aquatic therapy
  • Splints and braces
  • Constraint-induced movement therapy
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
  • Therapeutic taping

If you live in the Cincinnati area, we provide therapy at the Cincinnati Children’s Burnet Campus or at one of our 10 conveniently located outpatient centers. Aquatic therapy is offered at Cincinnati Children’s Drake Center.

If you live outside Greater Cincinnati, the Brachial Plexus Center team will be happy to consult with therapy providers in your area. We’ll stay in contact with you and your child’s care providers throughout their therapy.