Brachial Plexus and Nerve Program

Our Experts Deliver Collaborative, Individualized Care

Brachial Plexus and Nerve Program

Nationwide Children’s is home to one of the few programs in the country offering a truly collaborative, multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to pediatric brachial plexus and peripheral nerve conditions/injuries. Our team of experts provides comprehensive care dedicated to restoring function and quality of life based on the individual needs of each patient and family.

In addition to children with brachial plexus injuries from birth or trauma, our program now serves children with all peripheral nerve conditions, including facial nerve paralysis and acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), among others. Surgeons use specialized techniques to perform microsurgery procedures to restore form and function to children affected by trauma, cancer and conditions identified at birth.

Our expertise has resulted in significant improvements in pain and function for children with AFM, brachial plexus and other nerve injuries. Our ability to perform upper and lower extremity reconstruction has resulted in limb salvage and pain reduction, with many of these children thriving and returning to sports. Our outcomes speak for themselves – a better quality of life is possible with the right team.

About the Brachial Plexus and Nerve Program at Nationwide Children's 

Brachial plexus and other nerve injuries can have a lifelong impact on children and their families. We strive for each of our patients to achieve their fullest potential, while realizing they may not achieve completely normal function. We support children and their families through evaluation, therapy, and surgical and psychological interventions for all phases of growth from infant to teenager.

Because there are only a few programs across the country that treat brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries, many of the families we serve travel to Nationwide Children’s for care, and when necessary, leave with a follow-up care plan that can be coordinated with their local specialists.

What is Brachial Plexus?

Many parents are unaware of something called the brachial plexus and how important it is to their baby’s life.

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that begins at the spinal cord and controls the arm, shoulder and hand function. Injury to these nerves during birth or later trauma can leave the arm without feeling or movement.

These injuries can range from mild to severe, and sometimes surgery is necessary to improve an arm’s function.

At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, our experts from Hand, Microsurgery, and Brachial Plexus and Nerve programs are ready to evaluate, educate and provide appropriate interventions.

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What is Acute Flaccid Myelitis?

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious nerve-related condition that occurs mostly in children. It is a virus that comes from the common cold but its effects are similar to polio.

Historically, AFM has appeared regularly every other year. AFM was recognized by the Center for Disease Control in 2014 and there have been less than 700 cases reported in the United States.

While the cause of AFM is still unclear, it typically occurs after a viral infection. Our team has developed rapid and effective surgical treatments for AFM solutions once a patient is diagnosed. This includes state-of-the-art nerve transfer techniques to restore function of paralyzed limbs.

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What are Facial Nerve Injuries?

Facial paralysis is weakness or lack of motion of part or all of the face. It can involve one or both sides of the face. This decreased or lack of motion causes asymmetry and can lead to both functional and social interaction issues.

Facial paralysis can be congenital (from birth) lack of development of the facial nerve or muscles that cause facial movement. For example, Moebius syndrome or hemifacial microsomia. More commonly, it can be the result of trauma, surgery or tumors that injure cranial nerve 7 or the muscles it controls. Infection that affects the facial nerve or muscles can also cause facial paralysis.

Facial Re-animation is the term used for microsurgical techniques aimed at repairing the facial nerve and/or transplanting a muscle from the leg to the face. These techniques require a team approach to help restore important facial movements such as smiling.

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Meet Our Team

At Nationwide Children’s, our Brachial Plexus Program is staffed by a team of experts ready to evaluate, educate and provide appropriate interventions. Our multidisciplinary team of experts provides an extensive range of services, including:

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Kim A. Bjorklund

Dr. Kim Bjorklund is Director of the Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Program. She is a member of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital and is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. 

During Your Visit

Our staff is committed to provide the best possible care for children with brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries.

Specialists from many different disciplines work together as a team to treat your child’s condition. Some of the specialists include a plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, occupational and physical therapy, nurse, nurse practitioner, and psychologist.

All patients must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the initial evaluation. Guardians who are not biological parents need to present legal documentation or proof of guardianship.

What to Bring

  • Insurance card – Co-pays will be collected if required
  • Medical records from another facility if applicable
  • A copy of any imaging done at outside facilities (CD or DVD) and therapy progress reports, if applicable

What to Expect

  • Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time for parking and registration.
  • The initial multidisciplinary evaluation takes about an hour.
  • Please be prepared with snacks or other necessities you may need. (i.e. extra diapers, formula, etc.)
  • Please call (614) 722-6299 if you need to cancel, reschedule or if you have any questions.

Resources for Families

Brachial Plexus and Nerve Procedures

There are over 100 types of nerve disorders that can occur in children and may be treated by various pediatric experts including plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and more. Some disorders are congenital, meaning they are present right when a child is born or even identified in the womb. Some are the result of atraumatic event or a viral reaction later in life and need immediate attention. Our team is prepared to support and treat peripheral nerve disorders that may present in children. Some of our procedure capabilities include:

  • Nerve surgeries for upper and lower extremities – repair, grafting, transfer, decompression
  • Facial nerve surgery
  • Free functional muscle surgery
  • Targeted muscle reinnervation following limb amputation
  • Microsurgery for limb salvage

Referral Resources

Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Brachial Plexus and Nerve Program
Services are provided on the main campus of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

700 Children's Drive
Suite T5E
Columbus, Ohio 43205

Local Phone: (614) 722-6299
Toll Free: 1-888-331-9720
Fax: (614) 722-4000

Urgent Consultations

For providers in need urgent consultations, contact our Physician Direct Connect Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Local Phone: (614) 355-0221
Toll Free: 1 (877) 355-0221
Fax: (614) 355-4444

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Kim Bjorklund, MD in surgery

Inside the OR with Kim Bjorklund, MD

Join us inside the operating room as Kim Bjorklund, MD removes a mass on her patient's hand.