Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Cerebral Palsy Surgery

A cerebral palsy is a group of neuro-motor disorder which comprise of the problem in ambulation along with a problem in cognition, perception, vision, hearing, speech, oromotor problem etc. Usually, treatment of cerebral palsy requires good rehab measure which includes multimodal physiotherapy, training in ADL activity & brace. If we look into the history, innovations in cerebral palsy management started only a few decades back. Main issues in cerebral palsy are a problem in balance, muscle tone, abnormal movement disorder, muscle weakness & absence of selective fine motor function. So we have to manage the entire problem simultaneously through cerebral palsy surgery and therapy treatment.

Cerebral palsy surgery is only required to correct bony & fix joint deformity in children with spastic & mixed cerebral palsy and not in dyskinetic cerebral palsy. It should be planned meticulously only after detail evaluation. A few decades back, we used to plan surgery in staged manner for correcting deformity of one joint at a time. Then came the concept of single event multilevel surgery (SEMLS), in which all the contracted & shorten muscle are lengthened in single stage surgery but both concepts don’t give much hope to these children. Most of the time, these children get lots of problem because of over-lengthened & weak muscle. Sometimes child deteriorates very fast because of weakness & progressive deformity. Initially, tendon was lengthened or cut completely. Then the concept of doing aponeurotic release of affected long musculo-tendinous unit (OSSCS) came. In this concept, only superficial facial coverage of all affected multiarticular muscle are released & short monoarticular muscle is not touched so that weakness does not occur but still there are chances of over-lengthening of tendon in long term.

Now, gait analysis in the evaluation of cerebral palsy has paved a new path in the management of cerebral palsy. It is proven by many types of cerebral palsy research that all seemingly contracted muscles are not always short. Sometimes these muscles can be longer than normal. Most of the times these muscles are weak so lengthening of these muscles weaken them further. But still few muscles may require lengthening in the presence of muscle shortening.

Second issue is that muscle can’t generate enough power if bone & joint are not in proper alignment. Muscle will not be able to work properly in the presence of mal-alignment of bone & joint (lever arm problem). This mal-alignment can be in the form of angular, rotational bony & joint deformity. So along with strength training of muscles, these deformities require multi-level correction by corrective bony osteotomy as well. Common problem in lever arm problem is increase anteversion of femur neck (internal femur torsion), tibial external rotational deformity & planovalgus feet. All these problems should be managed to get best outcome. Some muscles are too weak or malfunctioning, so we also supplement them with full or partial tendon transfer. Common sites of tendon transfer are wrist, knee & foot problem in cerebral palsy. Aponurotic Lengthening of musculotendinous unit is required only in the cases with very short muscle length. Some time, shortening of bone is being done to save the muscle from weakness by over lengthening during correction of lever arm restoration Now days we utilize the concept of lever arm restoration, tendon transfer & aponurotic release of contracted long mutiarticular muscle in single stage. I had given the name single event multilevel orthopaedic surgery (SEMLOS) for this new concept. Usually, we delay cerebral palsy surgery till certain age when gait of the child become mature; it usually happens around 6-7 year in cp children. So if CP surgery is required it is recommended before puberty between 7-10 years and at maturity around 15 years age. Surgery at early age is required only in cases with hand deformity & dislocation of hip joint. Continuous use of brace & physical therapy is mandatory after surgery to maintain the physical status of the child.

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