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Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a complex neurological disorder that affects a person’s movement, posture, and balance. It is caused by damage to the developing brain during pregnancy, birth, or infancy. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, affecting approximately 70-80% of people with the condition.

About 17 million people worldwide (34,000 in Australia) have cerebral palsy. CP is a lifelong brain disorder.

Treatment options for cerebral palsy include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medication, and in some cases, surgery. Botulinum toxin injections at Melbourne NeuroCare can reduce the symptoms of cerebral palsy by relaxing spastic or tight muscles.

The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. In some cases, patients with cerebral palsy may only experience mild symptoms, while others may have more severe symptoms that require more significant medical intervention.

  • Muscle spasticity
  • Abnormal muscle tone (either too stiff or too floppy)
  • Abnormal posture
  • Involuntary movements
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty with balance, walking, or fine motor skills
  • Seizures
  • Vision and hearing impairment
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech impairments
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Poor oral motor control
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Bowel problems
  • Behavioral issues
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Pain in the muscles and joints

Botulinum neurotoxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and has been used for decades to treat muscle spasticity and other movement disorders. In cerebral palsy, the muscles can become stiff and spastic due to damage in the brain that affects their control.

When injected into the affected muscles, botulinum toxin blocks the release of a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, which is responsible for muscle contraction. By inhibiting this chemical, the muscle is allowed to relax, resulting in reduced spasticity and improved movement.

  • Generally speaking, the best candidates for botulinum toxin injections are patients who suffer from moderate to severe spasticity associated with cerebral palsy. These neurotoxin injections can help reduce spasticity, improve motor control, and reduce pain and discomfort caused by stiff muscles.

    A patient with cerebral palsy is eligible for PBS-subsidized botulinum toxin injections if they have dynamic equinus foot deformity and moderate to severe spasticity that affects their daily activities and quality of life.

    Patients must be assessed by a specialist experienced in the use of botulinum toxin.

What to Expect After Treatment?

The procedure typically lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the number of muscles targeted for treatment. By reducing muscle tension and promoting greater mobility, botulinum toxin injections can help patients with cerebral palsy to manage their condition better and achieve greater independence.

It’s important to note that botulinum toxin injections are not a cure but are very effective in alleviating muscle spasticity and improving mobility in patients with cerebral palsy.

Results

Some possible benefits from botulinum toxin injection include improved range of motion, reduced pain, and increased participation in activities. The effects of botulinum toxin injection usually last for three to six months before another injection is required.

Book an appointment

At Melbourne NeuroCare, we have a team of experienced neurologists specialising in botulinum toxin injection for cerebral palsy. We offer personalised care and follow-up to ensure you get the best results possible. Contact Melbourne NeuroCare today to schedule a consultation for botulinum toxin injection.