A thorough checkup is needed to help the doctor find out which muscles and nerves are affected and what type of surgery would best treat the condition. A gait analysis may be part of the exam.
Doctors don’t agree about the best age for children to have surgery for cerebral palsy. Some may suggest surgery at a young age, while others may suggest other treatments before surgery. Use this surgery information form to help you decide what’s right for your child.
Surgery isn’t used nearly as often for the arms as for the legs. Surgery on arm deformities carries more risks related to sensory damage.
Sometimes medicine or physical therapy is used to postpone or prevent the need for surgery.
Surgery for various orthopedic problems. Surgery for other problems is sometimes needed for children with CP. These surgeries vary depending on the specific problems involved. For example, some children may need surgery to correct uneven leg length.
Medicine-related surgery. A small pump is surgically implanted under the skin in the belly for some people who have CP. This pump can deliver medicines, such as baclofen, directly into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.
Surgery for people who have cerebral palsy (CP) may help reduce muscle stiffness or spasms and allow more flexibility and control of the affected limbs and joints.
The main surgery choices are:
Orthopedic surgery (for muscles, tendons, and joints). It’s done to increase range of motion. For example, the surgeon may lengthen a tendon, cut through muscles or tendons, or attach a tendon to a different part of the bone.2 Surgery to treat spinal curves (scoliosis) or to prevent or treat hip dislocation is also done.
Selective dorsal rhizotomy (cutting nerves of affected limbs) for contracture or other mobility problems. This procedure is usually considered only for children who have severe muscle tightness in the legs.
After CP is diagnosed, a child will also be checked for other medical conditions that can occur with cerebral palsy, such as:
Other developmental delays in addition to ones already found. Developmental abilities will be checked to find out if new symptoms, such as speech and language delay, appear as a child’s nervous system matures.
Intellectual disability. This can be checked by intelligence testing.
Seizures. An electroencephalography (EEG) is used to check for abnormal activity in the brain if a child has a history of seizures.
Problems with feeding and swallowing.
Vision or hearing problems.
Most of the time, a doctor can predict many of the long-term physical effects of CP when a child is 1 to 3 years old. But sometimes such predictions aren’t possible until a child reaches school age. That’s when learning, communication skills, and other abilities can be checked.
Some children need repeated testing that may include:
X-rays, to check for loose or dislocated hips. Children with CP are usually X-rayed several times during ages 2 to 5. Spinal X-rays also are done to look for curves in the child’s spine (scoliosis).
Gait analysis. This helps identify problems and guide treatment decisions.
Other tests may be needed, depending on a child’s symptoms, other conditions, or medicines he or she takes.
Developmental delays are often reported by parents or observed by a doctor during routine well-baby checks.
A doctor diagnoses CP based on:
Questions about the child’s medical history, including details about the mother’s pregnancy.
A physical exam to look for signs of CP. The doctor will look to see if the child retains newborn reflexes longer than normal. This can be a sign of CP. Postures and basic muscle function, hearing, and vision are usually checked.
Screening tests. Developmental questionnaires and other tests may be done.
MRI of the head. This test can find brain abnormalities.
If the diagnosis is unclear, more tests may be done. Sometimes these tests can help find out the severity of CP.
A doctor may closely monitor a newborn or child for signs of CP if he or she has known risk factors. These factors may be related to problems during pregnancy or birth, being born early (premature birth), or problems that occur within the first 2 or 3 years of life.
Doctors are careful not to diagnose CP too early, because some babies who have motor skill problems soon after birth never get CP.
Sometimes symptoms may not appear until the nervous system matures. It can take up to a few years before doctors can tell if a baby with body movement and posture (motor) problems has CP.
The cause of cerebral palsy (CP) sometimes isn’t known. But links have been identified between CP and certain conditions during pregnancy, birth, and early childhood. Some of these can be prevented. Some cannot.
Before and during pregnancy
Doing all you can before and during pregnancy can help lower the risk that a brain injury will occur in a developing baby. Here are some tips for healthy habits before and during pregnancy.
Eat nutritious foods.
Avoid exposure to harmful substances.
See your doctor regularly.
For babies and young children
Help prevent CP in your young child by minimizing your child’s risk for getting a brain injury.
Take steps to prevent accidents.
Make sure you are familiar with the signs of jaundice in newborns.
Know how to prevent lead poisoning.
Keep your child away from people who have serious contagious illnesses, such as meningitis.
Make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.
If your child has not been diagnosed with CP, pay attention to whether your child is reaching early developmental milestones. Report anything you notice to your doctor at regularly scheduled well-child visits or anytime you have concerns.
In the home of Yuzhong district, Chongqing,China. Su Meide was standing in the living room telling stories to the guests, her words is is very vivid and the pronunciation is standard. It’s hard to believe that De was diagnosed with Severe cerebral palsy when she was born.
In the past 17 years, De’s parents and grandparents paid Unimaginable hardships, in order to teach De to speak a word, they need to Repeat it for over 100 times. De never spoke a word before the age of two, but her grandma didn’t give up, little by little, De can repeat the last word of a poem, one day before her third birthday, De suddenly spoke her first word “grandma is a rocking chair”, and the whole family was delighted and cried with joy. De cannot sit up before the age of 7, and last year, she can walk by herself after professional treatment.
What’s the power that support them to stick out for 17 years, it’s De’s efforts and progress. This loving family was recently named “ the most beautiful family” by Chongqing government.
Her mother always says that De is like a little delicate flower to her, she just blooms a little slowly.
De and Her Loving Family
Call 911 or other emergency services if your child with cerebral palsy (CP):
Is having problems breathing.
Chokes during feeding and you are not able to dislodge the food.
Call a doctor right away if:
Your child has a seizure for the first time.
If you have a child diagnosed with CP, call your doctor if your child has:
A seizure (if it is the first time, call your doctor or seek care right away).
Constipation that isn’t relieved by home treatment.
Skin irritation that isn’t getting better, starts to bleed or weep fluid, or causes pain.
Feeding problems that aren’t relieved by home treatment, such as:
A pattern of coughing and choking during feeding. If food is inhaled into the lungs, it increases the risk of pneumonia.
Trouble chewing, along with weight loss or complaints of being hungry.
Frequent accidents that threaten your child’s safety.
Other signs of complications. These may include bladder control problems, bleeding gums, or an increase in joint stiffness.
If you have cerebral palsy and you are pregnant, talk with a doctor about how CP can affect your pregnancy and delivery.
Family members working together with doctors can use home treatment to provide the best possible care for a child with cerebral palsy (CP).
Tips for parents and family members
Learn about the condition. Being informed can help you understand how best to help your child. Local or national cerebral palsy organizations can help, especially in dealing with the impact of daily emotional and lifestyle issues. Talk with your doctor or call your local hospital for suggestions. For more information, see the Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.
Learn about your child’s educational rights. Laws in the United States give children with special needs access to free public school services and some free treatments. These educational rights also include protection of the parents’ rights to be fully informed about or disagree with educational decisions concerning their child. Contact your state and local education departments for specific information about these accommodations. Also, vocational training may benefit some teens and young adults.
Work with teachers and school officials. Work with your child’s teachers, school administrators, special learning consultants, and school boards to develop the best educational plan for your child. A cooperative team approach helps your child realize his or her potential.
Provide emotional support. The needs of a child with CP change over time. As children grow and become more aware of their physical limitations, they need to be able to talk about their feelings and how they are treated. It is sometimes easier for them to talk with someone who isn’t a family member. Ask your doctor about whether emotional counseling would benefit your child. Also, include your child when making decisions about his or her health care.
Take care of yourself. Get proper rest, eat well, exercise, and learn ways to cope with the challenges of raising a child with CP. You will be better equipped to help your child when you have physical energy and emotional strength.
Help each other. The entire family is affected when one member has CP. Helping family members cope with this situation is important, especially for siblings. You can help prevent other children from having unrealistic fears and concerns, feeling left out, or becoming overwhelmed.
You and your family and friends can help your child reach his or her highest potential. Focus on your child’s strengths. And build self-esteem by helping your child learn to do things by himself or herself.
Lucas Vialpando an American boy who was born with cerebral palsy , and like other sufferers, he doesn’t have the full use of his legs, so he can’t walk without crutches. But what we didn’t expected is that he managed to become a wrestler, he qualified and participated in a top high school wrestling tournament, even through Lucas didn’t win the game, it doesn’t stop his step of chasing wrestling dream.
Countless people tell him that he will never be able to wrestle, but it seems that Lucas was not bothered by those word, he overcame the difficulties and proved them wrong.
He said that his dream is to inspire the Olympic Committee to bring wrestling to the Paralympic Games, he is so optimistic that people says that he himself is the definition of positive.
Lucas visted the US National Wrestling Team in Colorado Springs, he also met a coach from the team, he always says that: “There is no better feeling than to get out there and succeed no matter what level you are at.”
We will see an excellent wrestler in the near future.