Spectrum Health shares information and education about Cerebral Palsy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)- The brain is a fascinating part of the body. Sometimes, the brain can suffer from a serious injury that causes physical or mental impairment. eightWest sat down to talk about Cerebral Palsy, a condition that affects patients for their entire lives, with Dr. Casey Madura, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

What is cerebral palsy?
– Condition where patients have impaired muscle function causing a wide range of physical disability.
– Muscles are often spastic (too tight).
– Cause by an impairment or injury of the brain either in utero or, typically, shortly after birth.

How does this condition affect the everyday lives of patients and families? 
– Difficulty with common movements sometimes there is little disability, but other times there can be more severe muscular tightness that could cause paralysis.
– Muscular tightness can make it difficult for parents or caregivers to everyday things like dress the child or give them food.
– There is no mention of cognitive impairment in people with cerebral palsy most times, cognition can be completely normal .
o Stigma associated with physical impairment that mental impairment is also present.

What are some treatments or management plans you provide? 
– Primary treatment is medical, managed largely by physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors.
– Multidisciplinary conferences to determine the best methods to manage these complex patients.
– More permanent, surgical option called a dorsal rhizotomy reduces spasticity, specifically in the legs, for children who are unable to walk.
o This procedure cuts nerves that are part of the spasticity reflex to reduce leg muscle tension this surgery requires rehabilitation right after the procedure but has very good outcomes in selected patients.

What is the department at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital doing to improve the lives of your patients? 
– Offering surgical options and continued, coordinated care is something that makes this practice notable
– Pediatric neurosurgery works to make sure there is always someone for the families to contact at the hospital in case there are any questions or concerns.
– The specialty aims to make the parents and caregivers feel involved neurosurgeons see the patient every few months of sometimes once a year, the caregivers see them daily .
o Trying to best understand that care that is given and questions that need asking.

Pediatric Neurosurgery
35 Michigan Street NE, Suite 3003
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616.267.2570