Long-Term Study Results Show Benefit of Surgery for Patients with Cerebral Palsy

There is still no “cure” for the many forms of cerebral palsy. While stem cell therapies offer hope that one day damaged parts of the body which create cerebral palsy can actually be re-grown properly, scientists are still in the early stages of understanding this option. In fact, some scientists are warning against buying into some scams where the unscrupulous convince families to pay tens of thousands of dollars for stem cell “therapies” that may serve no purpose. There is no still no guaranteed right or wrong answers for families when deciding what treatment options to consider. But at the very least it is important to receive advice from trusted, experienced medical professionals.

Also, recognition that some options, like stem cell therapies, are still in their early stages, does not mean that families are without recourse to help their loved one who has cerebral palsy recover. In fact, research is now coming in regarding the long-term benefit of certain surgical methods which offer hope for all those battling CP.

Surgical Benefits Hold Up
As reported recently in the Gazette, doctor’s reported the result of a decades-long tracking study into the effectiveness of a surgical procedure for children with cerebral palsy known as selective dorsal rhizotomy. The actual surgery is not new, having been used for many years. However, even though it has a relatively long history, doctors were not sure of the long-term benefits of the procedure. When performed on toddlers, would the positive outcomes last ten years later? Twenty years later? Did the surgery offer temporary aid that would fade over time or was it permanent?

The report explains how the surgery is used to help with the most common type of CP– spastic cerebral palsy. Those with spastic CP usually have significant mobility problems, many are never able to walk and even moving other limbs can be a challenge. To correct this, the surgery used electrical impulse to identify affected nerve. This allows surgeons to make precise choices about what nerves to cut out in surgery. Combined with continual therapy after the surgery, many patient see drastic improvement in mobility.

This week researchers revealed the results of a project that monitored some patients for as long as fifteen years after their operation. The results were impressive, as the vast majority of children tracked in this study (102 overall) saw permanent improvement in their mobility, making it far more likely that they were able to improve their quality of life with minimal adaptations necessary.

As one doctor involved explained of the surgery, “”It’s not a life-or-death situation, we’re trying to improve their quality of life,” Another commented that the goal “seems to be occurring in a group of those patients.”

The findings of his long-term study are obviously encouraging news for the many families whose children have already had the surgery or are considering it. This is also a testament to the incredible work of so many medical researchers working on these issues. For legal help on issues related to cerebral palsy developed at birth and securing access to resources to help in treatment, please consider contact our attorneys today.

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