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Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Cerebral Palsy (CP)Cerebral palsy (CP) refers to a group of motor problems and physical disorders that result from brain injury or abnormal brain development occurring prenatally or within the first three years of life. Symptoms vary widely and may include problems with posture and movement, seizures, retardation and difficulty with vision or hearing. Although the brain injury is irreversible, cerebral palsy can be treated with medication, physical therapy, surgery and equipment such as braces and splints.

Because cerebral palsy manifests itself in so many different ways, the surgical procedures chosen for a particular patient will vary according to his or her unique signs and symptoms. One of the most common orthopaedic operations for cerebral palsy involves the strategic lengthening of muscles that are chronically tight or spastic. This is especially helpful for a patient who has problems sitting, standing and walking due to uncontrollable muscle contractures in the hip, thigh and ankle. With physical therapy, the patient may experience increased motion and control.

Other common orthopaedic treatments for cerebral palsy include those indicated for scoliosis, hip dysplasia, limb length inequality and other deformities commonly exhibited by cerebral palsy patients.

Not all children who have CP require surgery. Often, by using a combination of bracing, therapy and medication, surgery can be avoided.

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To learn more about pediatric orthopaedic conditions, please refer to the following organizations:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Musculoskeletal Tumor Society

Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America