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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
The orthopedic center at Boston Children’s Hospital is one of the oldest and busiest in the United States. Our orthopedic team is ranked #1 for pediatric orthopedic care by U.S.News & World Report and has expertise in a variety of disorders and conditions, including cerebral palsy (CP).
Our skilled surgeons bring vast experience and compassion to their work, making the comfort and overall well-being of your child our priority. While our treatments and innovations have greatly evolved over the past century, our philosophy remains the same—to relentlessly provide the best orthopedic care and patient service possible to improve our patients’ quality of life.
We accomplish this through:
Children with cerebral palsy often cannot exercise or stretch their muscles by running, walking or playing, which can lead to poor muscle and bone growth. Weak muscles do not support the bones and joints as well they should, which can lead to conditions like:
In some cases, surgery can be a helpful option for managing these symptoms, especially when other, less invasive medical treatments and therapies have been tried without success. Our orthopedic surgeons have many years of expertise treating CP symptoms that impact the skeleton and muscles.
Orthopedic surgeries focus on improving mobility and body movement. Surgery can also help reduce spasticity in the legs by elongating or releasing the contracted muscles and tendons that are too short and improve bone alignment. This can help prevent some of these conditions.
Spastic muscle activity in children with CP results in uneven pulling on the spine. This can cause the spine to curve (scoliosis). Curvatures can make sitting difficult and may cause your child discomfort. Spinal surgeries can correct a curvature and prevent it from getting worse.
Almost all spinal surgeries for CP will involve some type of spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that:
Some curvatures are more severe than others. Our expert surgeons will straighten the spine only as much as is safe for your child.
In young children who are still actively growing, spinal curves get worse quickly. While we want to stop the curves from getting too big, we also want to allow as much growth as possible through the spine. To do this, your child’s doctor may recommend growing rods.
These extendable metal rods are:
Your child will return for lengthening of the rods as a day surgery or overnight stay every six months or so. Lengthening continues for several years and is generally followed by a final spinal fusion once your child is nearly done growing.
To learn more about spinal surgeries at Boston Children’s, download A Guidebook for Spinal Surgery in Children with Neuromuscular Disorders (PDF). Created by clinicians in the Cerebral Palsy program at Boston Children's, this booklet discusses various spine disorders your child may encounter, as well as surgical treatment options.
Children with CP often have weak muscles that do not support the bone and joints as well they should. This can lead to hip dislocation and foot and ankle deformities. Boston Children’s orthopedic surgeons offer many treatments for these conditions, including:
To learn more about hip surgery at Boston Children’s, download A Guidebook for Hip Surgery in Children with Cerebral Palsy (PDF). Created by clinicians in the Cerebral Palsy program at Boston Children's, this booklet discusses various hip conditions your child may encounter, as well as treatment options.
For an appointment, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please call us at 617-355-6021 or request an appointment online.
For families residing outside of the United States, please call Boston Children's International Health Services at 1-617-355-5209.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”