Surgery and Cerebral Palsy

Surgery and Cerebral Palsy

Typical Procedures for the Child Needing Surgery

Children with spastic cerebral palsy often need surgery. These procedures will aim to loosen tight muscles, relieve contracted joints, and, perhaps, alleviate pain. In many cases, if surgical intervention is performed early enough, some of the bone deformity issues may be avoided altogether. One surgery that is performed on many people with spastic cerebral palsy is called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). This surgery involves cutting nerve fibers that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord. The resulting relief of spasticity can significantly reduce the child's chronic pain.

When their spasticity leads to painful and/or difficulty walking, orthopedic surgery may offer relief and may also improve their coordination while walking (also called gait). The surgery involves lengthening muscles and tendons that have not developed proportionately. When muscles and tendons have developed abnormally, the tension in that portion of the body may make coordinated movement painful or impossible. Many times a child with spastic CP will require multiple orthopedic surgical procedures since several areas of their body may be adversely influenced by CP. Some of the most common orthopedic procedures involve

As with any surgical procedure, careful consideration and thorough analysis are necessary to weigh the costs versus the benefits. If you have explored all other options for treating your child's condition, surgery may be a reasonable choice. With some of the orthopedic procedures, the patient can be treated on an outpatient basis as many of the surgeries are not particularly invasive and have a fairly short recovery time.

Risks and Drawbacks of Surgery

The selective dorsal rhizotomy procedure is quite invasive and the recovery can be challenging. Furthermore, it does have potential side effects that include sensory loss, numbness, or uncomfortable sensations in the limbs. The impact on the patient can be dramatic in positive or negative ways.

As with all surgical procedures, there may be a painful recovery process that will involve aggressive pain management, the need for drugs to fight infection and the possible interaction of drugs that the patient may already be taking especially those used to control convulsions and epilepsy. For children with CP who require surgery, the delicate nature of their condition and the challenges in even ideal circumstances must be weighed against the benefits from a surgical procedure.

If you are concerned about the costs or your ability to access the resources that are best for your child and you believe that their condition was caused by a birth injury or medical mistake, contact Michels & Lew. For more than 30 years, our lawyers have been winning compensation for severely injured children. Our in-house medical doctor will study the details of your situation, and, along with the legal guidance of our attorneys, will offer a thorough analysis of the merits of your legal case. You may be entitled to millions of dollars in lifetime benefits for your child. We accept cases on a contingent fee basis and we offer free consultations. Contact us if you need medical answers and legal guidance.