Surgical procedures for those with cerebral palsy have the potential to lessen muscle stiffness and spasms, providing for increased flexibility and control of the problematic limbs and joints. This gives the individual with cerebral palsy enhanced mobility. However, surgical errors or unnecessary surgery can result in: infection and sepsis, immune system failure, internal organ damage and fatalities. Doctors require a high level of skill to accurately perform most surgical procedures. If there is the slightest deviance on accuracy the patient can suffer a huge set back.
Parents of children with cerebral palsy considering surgical intervention should ensure the doctor thoroughly evaluates their symptoms, age, general state of health, etc. A gait analysis may form part of the evaluation. Age is an important factor to consider as surgery in younger children is often put off if undergoing the procedure too early could mean they would need additional intervention later. These are some of the matters that should be given due consideration prior to surgical intervention.
The principal surgical choices for those with cerebral palsy are orthopedic surgery and selective dorsal rhizotomy. The first option seeks to enhance range of motion by lengthening a tendon, cutting through tendons (or muscles) or attaching tendons to a different part of the bone. That is why the surgeon has to be 100 percent sure which tendon should be cut and where it should be attached, etc. Failure to make this accurate decision could have detrimental results. For children with severe leg muscle tightness, selective dorsal rhizotomy is usually the preferred surgical procedure. With this, nerves of affected limbs are cut, with accuracy as a key.
For all these reasons, it is incumbent upon the family of the cerebral palsy patient to obtain information from a highly-respected physician, familiar with their particular case, before conducting surgery to enhance the quality of life of the patient with cerebral palsy. Should the family that has had surgery performed suspect surgical error, they should seek out representation and have reputable lawyers evaluate the facts for them.