Cerebral Palsy

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe a group of neurological disorders that affect the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. It is the leading cause of childhood disabilities, affecting 3.3 children per 1,000.*  Cerebral palsy is caused by damage or abnormalities to a child’s developing brain, which, in turn, disrupts the brain’s ability to control movement and maintain posture and balance.

 

Children with cerebral palsy typically begin displaying symptoms in infancy or early childhood. These symptoms include:

 

  • Weakness in one or more extremities
  • Tremors or random involuntary movements
  • Difficulty with movements like tying shoes or buttoning shirts
  • Delays in reaching motor skill milestones
  • Lack of general muscle coordination
  • Spastic movements or exaggerated reflexes
  • Crouched or “scissored” gait
  • Walking on toes
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking

 

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always cause extreme disabilities – it will vary from one child to another.

 

*According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

cerebral palsy, treatment for cerebral palsy
cerebral palsy, treatment for cerebral palsy

Treatment Options

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but a child’s capabilities can improve through a combination of medication and therapies.

 

Some types of surgery can improve symptoms of cerebral palsy, especially for those children who suffer from severe spasticity and stiffness that make walking and moving difficult or painful.

 

At Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York, we are experts in the surgical procedures designed to help children with cerebral palsy live healthier lives.

 

Orthopedic Surgery

 

We can perform this type of surgery to lengthen muscles and tendons that are proportionately too short due to severe contractions in order to improve mobility and lessen pain. The procedures may also make it easier to use a walker, braces or crutches.

 

In addition, children with severe contractures or deformities may need surgery on bones or joints to place their arms, hips or legs in their correct positions.

 

Surgery to cut nerves.

 

In some severe cases where other treatments haven’t helped, we may suggest selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) – a procedure where overactivated nerves at the base of the spinal column are selectively severed. This procedure is commonly used to relax muscles and reduce chronic pain in the upper and lower limbs.