What Surgical Options Can Help Treat Cerebral Palsy?

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What Surgical Options Can Help Treat Cerebral Palsy?

If you or a loved one has cerebral palsy (CP), you're likely always on the lookout for treatments and therapies that can help improve quality of life. Although surgery isn't an option in every case, for many cerebral palsy sufferers, some minor to moderate procedures can yield major dividends for years to come. Learn more about a few of the surgical treatments that may be able to help you achieve the most mobile and independent life possible.


Muscle spasms associated with CP can, over time, change the way one's bones grow. Osteotomy essentially breaks and realigns affected bones to improve comfort and function. After an osteotomy has healed, CP patients may find that they can sit or walk far more comfortably. Osteotomy can also make it easier to perform a wider range of stretches and therapies that improve flexibility.

Muscle and Tendon Lengthening

Many CP sufferers have poor muscle tone, which can make it harder to build strength. Muscle and tendon lengthening procedures can treat some of the spasticity and muscle contracture that CP may cause. Both muscle and tendon lengthening can assist walking and fine motor control, and these surgeries can be performed arthroscopically for minimal recovery time.

Muscle and tendon lengthening procedures are best used in combination with physical or occupational therapy that will continue to challenge these muscles. 

Tendon Transfer or Release

The muscle spasms that are one of the most common symptoms of CP can strain tendons and limit one's range of motion. By moving tendons to their proper spots, tendon transfer surgery can correct some movement problems and reduce pain. 

Tendon release surgery, or tenotomy, actually severs the tendon to ease strain and allow for freer movement of muscles and joints. 

Joint Fusing 

If twisted ligament connections, muscle spasms, and poor muscle tone have combined to cause serious joint problems, fusing the joint can often provide more strength and stability. This procedure, called arthrodesis, is often used on wrists and ankles. By fusing these joints into one immovable position, these surgeries can help reduce future CP-related wear and tear and may make it easier to walk without pain.

Because joint fusing can significantly limit the types of surgical repair procedures that can be applied to that joint later, it's often seen as an option of last resort for CP patients who need some way to ease their chronic pain or regain their range of motion.

For more information, contact an orthopedic surgery clinic in your area.

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