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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2007;97(Pt 1):193-203.

Surgical management of spasticity of cerebral origin in children.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


In children, spasticity is commonly seen in the context of cerebral palsy (CP), but also following head injury, cerebral infarct or other brain insults. CP is a wide term used to describe a constellation of symptoms that characterise the physical impairment of movement due to abnormal brain development. The management of spasticity is tailored according to the clinical picture of the child. Ambulatory mild spastic diplegics tend to reach the maximum of their disability in the first few years of life, and change little after the age of 5-7 years. Such patients who are between 3-5 years and who attempt to mobilise with walking frames are often good candidates for either dorsal rhizotomy or intrathecal baclofen (ITB) administration with the implantation of an indwelling pump. Non-ambulatory mild spastic diplegics and spastic quadriplegics have more profound spasticity, painful spasms, orthopaedic deformities, and difficulties with daily care and posture. ITB has become established as the first line of surgical treatment for these patients. In the last decade, there has been a definite trend away from ablative treatments and towards reversible stimulation and infusion systems. Current pumps have practical limitations but, in the next decade, it is anticipated that technological improvements will render the pumps more patient friendly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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