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Is Leg Lengthening Surgery a Safe, Effective Cerebral Palsy Treatment?

Posted on in Cerebral Palsy

Chicago birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

Parents of children with cerebral palsy often face an overwhelming amount of information. Fully understanding how this condition has affected their child’s growth and development can be daunting, and making choices about the types of treatment a child should receive is often difficult. When surgical intervention is recommended to lengthen the muscles or tendons in the legs, parents should thoroughly discuss this option with medical providers to determine whether it will be an effective treatment for their child and whether it will cause any complications in the future. 

Orthopedic Surgery Options and Considerations

In some cases, leg lengthening surgery may be used to correct a difference in length between a child’s legs, or it may help address spasticity or severe muscle contracture, improving a child’s gait and allowing them to walk independently. Surgery may also be recommended after a patient has undergone a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR).

Minimally invasive orthopedic surgical procedures are used in many cases. These may include:

  • Muscle lengthening - Small incisions may be made in the muscles, allowing them to relax and addressing concerns about muscle tightness. This procedure may be performed on the hamstring muscle on the back of the thigh or the gastroc muscle in the calf.

  • Tendon lengthening - Overly tight tendons that restrict a child’s movement may be addressed by making incisions and reorienting tendons to increase their length. This procedure may be performed on the hamstring tendon or the Achilles tendon in the heel.

  • Tendon transfer - When tendons pull too hard in one direction, these tendons may be severed and reattached, allowing for better muscle alignment and reduced pain when walking.

  • Osteotomy - Deformities of the bones or joints in the leg can be corrected by cutting and reshaping bones and realigning joints.

Depending on the extent of a surgical procedure, children may need to wear casts while they heal. They may also need to use leg braces, and physical therapy will usually be necessary to build strength in the legs and help a child walk and move effectively.

While leg lengthening surgery can help improve mobility, balance, and coordination, it also has some risks. In some cases, surgery may only produce temporary results, or additional surgeries may be needed in the future. Extensive post-operative care or other treatments may be required to address the effects of surgery. Parents should be sure to discuss the benefits and risks of surgery with their child’s doctors, and they should understand how the child’s growth and development and other cerebral palsy-related conditions will affect the treatment and the child’s overall health and well-being.

Contact Our Chicago Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Attorneys

As a parent, you want what is best for your child. However, the costs of surgery and other treatments for cerebral palsy can be massive, and you may be unsure about what types of care you can afford. The Birth Injury Law Alliance can advise you on your options for receiving financial help that will allow you to provide the care and treatment your child needs. To set up a free consultation, contact our Illinois birth injury lawyers today at 312-462-4200.





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