The type of orthopedic surgery done to treat problems from cerebral palsy depends on which muscle groups are affected. Some basic goals are to loosen the:
- Muscles that make the hips turn toward the body (partial release of the hip adductor muscles). This surgery increases hip movement, allowing a child to sit and walk more easily.
- Muscles on the back of the thigh (partial hamstring release). These muscles control the tension in the thigh and around the knee, allowing a child to sit and walk with a more normal posture.
- Tendon at the back of the ankle (Achilles tendon lengthening or heel cord lengthening). This surgery helps a child walk with a flatter foot.
Orthopedic surgery usually is considered when a child with CP has:
- A bone or joint deformity that causes pain or interferes with function and is getting worse over time.
- Permanent stiff joints (contracture).
- Dislocated or irregularly functioning joints.
- A spinal deformity that is not improving with other treatment.
- A deformity that makes some caregiving functions, such as bathing, extremely difficult or impossible.
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