Find out about the diseases and illnesses we specialise in

Cerebral palsy

paràlisi cerebral Vall d'Hebron

 

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders affecting movement, posture and muscle tightness, caused by damage to the developing brain (in children up to approximately three years old). The severity of the symptoms varies widely: some patients can walk and lead independent lives, while others are more severely disabled. There may also be associated intellectual disabilities, problems with vision or hearing, problems when eating, seizures, etc.

Description

Causes of cerebral palsy

These can be categorised according to the moment when the brain damage occurs: prenatal, perinatal and postnatal. Currently, the most frequent causes are: extremely premature birth, hypoxia of the brain during birth, and paediatric stroke.

 

Signs and symptoms

In babies, we see slower psychomotor development, with difficulties in movements or activities. We usually see spasticity, which could be defined as increased tightness in a certain group of muscles. There are major musculoskeletal abnormalities, including spinal deformity, hip dislocation and ankle equinus.

 

Diagnosis

Fundamentally clinical diagnosis, depending on the patient's history. But confirmation is needed by additional imaging tests such as cranial ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. However, these can be normal.

 

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, we can deal with the pathology in different ways, both in prevention and in treatment:

  • Psychomotor stimulation treatment, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, depending on the age of the patient, severity and the goals to be reached
  • Management of musculoskeletal disorders
  • Treatment of musculoskeletal pain
  • Indication of orthoses for managing deformities, or technical aids. Indication of wheelchairs or appliances to help with standing or walking
  • Indication of medications or botulinum toxin infiltration in order to reduce spasticity
  • Treatment of epilepsy symptoms
  • Treatment to ensure safe eating and drinking, whether through logopaedic therapy or feeding tubes
  • Support in school, both ordinary and special

 

Prevention

No specific prevention is possible.

 

Healthcare advice

Apart from the physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy which can be offered or recommended to these patients, physical exercise can always be suggested, depending on the abilities of each person. We also recommend stretching certain muscle groups and trying to correct posture.

 

Professionals involved

The Child Rehabilitation and Cerebral Palsy Unit is staffed by doctors specialising in caring for these patients, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

We work with other specialist units, such as Neuropaediatrics, Paediatric Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Paediatric Traumatology. We are in direct contact with all the paediatric services: Neonatology, Oncohaematology, Nutritional Support, etc.

Hospital o serveis complementaris relacionats

Children's Hospital and Woman's Hospital

Where to find it

Traumatology, Rehabilitation and Burns Hospital

Where to find it
      
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Dra. Judith
Sanchez Raya
Head of Department
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dr. Félix
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Head of Department
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Díaz de Heredia Rubio
Head of Section
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Researcher
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