Current Environment:


The investigators are studying the ability of a novel rapid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol to provide more accurate and earlier information about whether an infant with brachial plexus birth palsy will require nerve surgery.


Brachial Plexus Palsy Due to Birth Trauma, Injury, Newborn

Recruitment Status

Active, not recruiting

Detailed Description

Brachial plexus birth palsy (BPBP) affects approximately 1 in 1,000 newborns, and though the majority of infants regain full function of the affected arm without nerve surgery, those with more severe nerve root injuries will require it. Currently, the best way to determine who will need surgery is to measure the trajectory of muscle recovery by serial clinical exams, but the optimal time for nerve surgery (before 3 months of age) is earlier than the time it usually takes to determine whether the infant needs surgery (up to 6 months.) A non-invasive diagnostic test that identifies the more severe injuries that require surgery earlier than serial exams would improve treatment timing, planning, and accuracy, and ultimately outcomes. The investigators have developed a rapid MRI sequence with high spatial resolution and soft tissue contrast that does not require sedation or injection of a contrast agent, and that appeared to accurately assess the severity of nerve injury in infants with BPBP in a pilot study. This pilot study demonstrated that the protocol distinguishes infants who ultimately needed surgery from those who recovered spontaneously. The purpose of the current study is to enroll 100 infants at 3 centers (Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California, Boston Children's Hospital, and Gillette Children's Hospital) over a 5 year period to validate this imaging protocol as the new "gold standard" to determine whether infants with BPBP need surgery, so that individuals who need it could have surgery earlier when it is more effective, and the parents of the majority who will recover spontaneously could be spared months of worry.

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

Diagnosis of brachial plexus birth palsy.
Age at consent ≤4 months

Exclusion Criteria:

Bilateral brachial plexus birth palsy.
Age at MRI <28 days or >4 months old (patients can be enrolled prior to 28 days of age, but the imaging must occur in the 28 days to 4 months' time period). The lead PI will need to approve the enrollment of a subject who will have the MRI after 90 days of age.
Concomitant medical conditions that would preclude performance of or confound interpretation of MRI or any clinical assessment.



Min Age

0 Days

Max Age

12 Weeks

Download Date

November 22, 2023

Principal Investigator

Michelle James

Primary Contact Information

For more information on this trial, visit


For more information and to contact the study team:

Non-Anesthetized Plexus Technique for Infant (BPBP) MRI Evaluation NCT03560999