Cerebral Palsy And Orthopedic Surgery

Sometimes before, during, and after birth a child has some form of brain damage, which is coined under the broad term cerebral palsy. The damage usually occurs while the brain is developing, but occasionally during birth up to age 3. Cerebral palsy is actually a group of disorders that limit the movements, posture, and activity that the child will be able to do as he grows. These are usually related to the child’s motor skills. Often some minor damage can be corrected with orthopedic surgery. A child is usually diagnosed after he fails to reach certain milestones or fails certain reflex tests. At this point, the child will be screened for mental retardation, vision and hearing difficulties, speech disorders, and motor skill dysfunction. To be diagnosed there needs to be a history of some form of skill developmental delay for the first 6 months of life. Then the doctors will check for spasticity, muscle tone, and slower growth. This most common form of disability related to cerebral palsy in children usually includes various forms of mental retardation, loss of fine motor skills, epilepsy, and minimal communication skills. Sometimes when a child is diagnosed very early in life the symptoms later disappear on their own. However, if it is diagnosed early and therapy begins immediately, the disabilities can be minimized and the child can be integrated into regular classrooms and normal environments.There are several different orthopedic surgery procedures that can be done to correct some of the symptoms and make the person with cerebral palsy more comfortable. These are:- Inserting an Intrathecal baclofen pump — this pump, usually inserted into the abdomen, helps reduce the spasticity in the legs, and the lower and upper body in a patient who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy. It also helps them to speak better. The physician can adjust the medication dosage as needed. They will need to get the pump re-filled each month. – Selective dorsal rhizotomy — this procedure works for both short and long term and helps increase the motion of the legs and hips in most patients. This should lessen the spasticity associated with their disability. This surgical procedure to the nerves is best for spasticity that depends on velocity. – Stereotactic basal ganglia — this procedure is used to make the rigidity, tremor, and choreoathetosis that is associated with cerebral palsy better. – Intervention by orthopedic surgery — this surgical procedure helps correct the scoliosis and dislocated hips that often comes with cerebral palsy. This surgery lengthens the tendons and realigns the limbs to help reduce the spastic muscle imbalances. This can also help with the person’s fine motor skills. If you suspect that your child has some form of cerebral palsy take him to a physician for a diagnosis right away because the sooner he is diagnosed the sooner you will be able to get him the help, medication, or orthopedic surgery that he needs to be integrated into society.