At the Cerebral Palsy Center, our goal is to help children reach their maximum level of function and independence. The journey to this goal is different for every child.
That’s why we provide a range of specialized services and leading-edge treatments. We can help your child, regardless of the type cerebral palsy they have.
Services and Treatments for Cerebral Palsy
At St. Louis Children’s Hospital, your child receives a fully customized care plan. As the pediatric teaching hospital for the Washington University School of Medicine, we have access to the latest cerebral palsy research and technology.
Depending on the type of cerebral palsy your child has, our experts will recommend a care plan based on their needs. It’s not uncommon for children to need several types of treatment to manage their cerebral palsy. We offer a variety of them at our Cerebral Palsy Center.
Non-Invasive Treatments for Cerebral Palsy Spasticity
- Medication options: Our physicians will work with your child to find the right medication to help with their symptoms. This may include baclofen or other medicines that they take by mouth.
- Botox® injections: Botulinum-A Toxin, also called Botox, can reduce spasticity in specific muscle groups. Doctors may inject Botox directly into an affected muscle. The effects usually last for a few months.
- Orthotics: Orthotics are devices that a child wears to help them gain stability, comfort and independence. An orthotist, in collaboration with your child’s doctor, can find the right orthotic for your child. It is customized for your child’s unique needs.
Advanced Tests and Screenings
- Hip screening: All children with cerebral palsy are evaluated and screened for hip problems during their treatment at the Cerebral Palsy Center. The screening is crucial for detecting hip problems before they cause hip dysplasia and pain.
- Motion analysis: Our specialized motion analysis equipment evaluates a child’s gait (walking pattern). Our experts use this advanced technology to help your child achieve the greatest mobility possible.
Cerebral Palsy Surgery Options
- Orthopedic surgery: For children who may benefit from orthopedic surgery, our world-renowned pediatric orthopedic program is there to help. Our orthopedic surgeons work closely with the rest of your child’s cerebral palsy team. Together, they help children gain maximum function and independence.
- Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) procedure: SDR can reduce or eliminate cerebral palsy spasticity. St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers the SDR procedure through the Center for Cerebral Palsy Spasticity. Pediatric neurosurgeon T.S. Park, MD, a world leader in the field, has performed thousands of these surgeries.
- Baclofen pump: This is a device that delivers baclofen, a medication for spasticity, directly to the spinal cord. Doctors place the pump in the abdomen area during a surgical procedure. Using a pump, rather than taking baclofen pills, allows children to take lower doses of the medication with positive results.
- Neurosurgery: We offer one of the largest neurosurgery programs in the nation. Our leading-edge technology and nationally recognized experts mean your child receives safe, precise procedures with faster recovery times.
- Deep brain stimulation: Dystonia is a condition where muscle contractions cause repetitive or twisting movements. It is a challenge for many children with cerebral palsy. Deep brain stimulation, performed by our expert neurosurgery and neurology team, can treat dystonia and improve a child’s function and motor skills.
Treating other symptoms of cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy can cause other symptoms that aren’t related to muscle movement. Cerebral palsy may also cause difficulty with:
- Learning and behavior: Many children with cerebral palsy have intellectual disabilities or autism.
- Communication: Some children with cerebral palsy may have trouble with speech, language and reading. Our Augmentative Communication Clinic can help.
- Seizures: If your child has seizures, your pediatric neurologist will discuss this with you. They can help you manage them or may refer you to our Epilepsy Center for additional care.
- Sleep: Many children with cerebral palsy have trouble sleeping. They may have sleep apnea, pain or muscle movements keeping them awake. Our Sleep Center can find the cause of your child’s sleep issues and recommend treatment if needed.
- Pain: Some children with cerebral palsy may have pain from various causes. It can be hard for them to communicate this. At every visit, we discuss pain and focus on treating it when needed.
- Nutrition: Our team will talk with you about ways to help your child get proper nutrition. We’ll work with you to ensure your child is growing at a healthy pace.
Comprehensive Care in One Place
As a leading pediatric hospital, we have a range of services for children with cerebral palsy. When your child needs one or more of these services, we coordinate their care to ensure you and your child have a seamless experience.
Some of the additional services we provide at St. Louis Children’s Hospital include:
- Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC): AAC helps children who have difficulty communicating.
- Feeding team: This service helps children with swallowing and other challenges with eating and drinking.
- Ophthalmology: Surgeons and specialists treat a range of visual (eye) disorders.
- Physical and Occupational Therapists: Pediatric-trained therapists work with children on a variety of muscle, joint and bone conditions.
- Psychology: Specialists in various areas of neuropsychology and psychology treat children and teenagers.
- Radiology services: We offer advanced imaging tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scans, ultrasound and more.
- Seating and positioning clinic: This clinic provides the expertise of physical and occupational therapists and wheelchair specialists.
Make an Appointment at the Cerebral Palsy Center
If you’re a new patient, you’ll need a referral for care at our Cerebral Palsy Center. Please ask your physician to send us a referral before your first visit.