THEY CAN HAPPEN DURING BIRTH OR A BAD FALL.
BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURIES OCCUR WHEN THE HEAD AND SHOULDER ARE PUSHED IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AND CAN COST KIDS THE USE OF THEIR ARMS. WITH SOME ASSISTANCE FROM THE DEAD...DOCTORS ARE HELPING CHILDREN WITH SEVERE FORMS OF THE INJURY.
"I tried to move it around and I couldn't move it at all. It was like my whole arm wasn't working."
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. "He couldn't move his arm for about six months, it just kinda hung there."
JAKE SUFFERED A BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY. IT STRETCHED AND EVEN TORE NERVES THAT CONTROL HIS RIGHT ARM. "Depending on the number of nerves injured sometimes they lose shoulder elbow function, sometimes they lose everything."
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.
"There can be a perfectly size matched graft placed quickly and easily, relatively effortlessly which provides us we think with every advantage that the traditional nerve graft did."
THANKS TO SOME HELP FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE...TEN MONTHS AFTER SURGERY...JAKE'S STRUMMING AWAY...
"Oh it's huge, and I still have deep hope in my heart that he's going to completely get better."
JAKE STILL HAS A LOT MORE THERAPY AHEAD OF HIM.
THE HOPE IS HE WILL GET BACK MORE STRENGTH AND MOBILITY.
MEANWHILE, THE DOCTORS WHO PIONEERED HIS PROCEDURE BELIEVE THAT USING DONOR NERVE GRAFTS COULD EVENTUALLY BECOME THE STANDARD OF CARE FOR TREATING CHILDREN WITH THESE INJURIES.
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