Cerebral Palsy and related conditions

  • Cerebral palsy is an irreversible disorder of the developing brain.  It can affect movement and posture of the upper limbs, trunk and lower limbs.  There are many forms ranging from very mild disability to total body involvement.  Orthopaedic surgeons are mostly involved in the treatment of the spastic forms of Cerebral Palsy.

    Cerebral palsy is a major focus of interest and research conducted in the unit, under the direction of Professor Graham.   There is considerable international interest in the results of research conducted here.

    Physiotherapists from the community and the physiotherapy department fill an important role in the early interventions and assessment for CP and play an important role in the ongoing assessment of treatment of children throughout their development. 

    Botulinum toxin (Botox) is sometimes indicated as an aid to dealing with spastic muscle disease. In some cases its use delays and prevents the need for surgical intervention.   It is sometimes also used as an adjunct to surgery. 

    Conventional surgery for Cerebral palsy can range from muscle-tendon procedures, to bone osteotomies (redirection of deformed bone and joints) and includes complex hip and spine surgery.

    An increasingly important tool in the assessment and prognosis for children with CP is the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS).  It is useful for prediction of likely orthopaedic problems to be encountered for any one child and thus is useful in directing referrals to the most appropriate clinic for assessment.