Hypoplasia of the trapezius and history of ipsilateral transient neonatal brachial plexus palsy

William Min, Andrew E. Price, Israel Alfonso, Lorna Ramos, John A.I. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We present two children with hypoplasia of the left trapezius muscle and a history of ipsilateral transient neonatal brachial plexus palsy without documented trapezius weakness. Magnetic resonance imaging in these patients with unilateral left hypoplasia of the trapezius revealed decreased muscles in the left side of the neck and left supraclavicular region on coronal views, decreased muscle mass between the left splenius capitis muscle and the subcutaneous tissue at the level of the neck on axial views, and decreased size of the left paraspinal region on sagittal views. Three possibilities can explain the association of hypoplasia of the trapezius and obstetric brachial plexus palsy: increased vulnerability of the brachial plexus to stretch injury during delivery because of intrauterine trapezius weakness, a casual association of these two conditions, or an erroneous diagnosis of brachial plexus palsy in patients with trapezial weakness. Careful documentation of neck and shoulder movements can distinguish among shoulder weakness because of trapezius hypoplasia, brachial plexus palsy, or brachial plexus palsy with trapezius hypoplasia. Hence, we recommend precise documentation of neck movements in the initial description of patients with suspected neonatal brachial plexus palsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-228
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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