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Orthopedic surgery is used to treat tight muscles and spasticity
cerebral palsy. An incision is made in the skin over
the affected muscle. Parts of the muscle are then cut to release the
After orthopedic surgery:
The type of orthopedic surgery done to treat problems from cerebral
palsy depends on which muscle groups are affected. Some basic goals are to
Orthopedic surgery may be considered when a child with CP
Corrections made during orthopedic surgery may be temporary. As a
person grows, the same muscles or other muscles may become tight and cause
contractures. Additional surgery may be needed.
Surgery of any kind carries the risk of bleeding, infection, or
need for repeated surgery. Orthopedic surgery carries the additional risk that
it may resolve some problems only to create more as a child grows and develops.
Doctors do not agree about the best age for children with CP to have surgery. Surgery may be postponed until a child is older than age 2. At that time, the doctor can try to release many tight muscles during the same surgery,
instead of releasing only one muscle at a time. Avoiding repeated surgeries has
many advantages, such as decreasing the number of times a child needs to go to
the hospital, decreasing overall time spent in physical therapy, and less
disruption of the child's school and social life.
Before a child has orthopedic surgery, it is important to determine
whether he or she will be able to walk after the procedure. The goals for
children who will walk differ from the goals for children who will not walk.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
September 20, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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