26 April 2009

Surgery ‘improves life of kids with cerebral palsy

Publish Date: Sunday,26 April, 2009, at 12:27 PM Doha Time

Dr Shaarani: ‘Two to three years of age is the time to show an affected child to a surgeon

By Bonnie JamesSurgical interventions improve the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy, Hamad Medical Corporation’s consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dr Mohamed Shaarani said yesterday.“Surgery enables many wheelchair-bound children to be transferred to walkers and those who are crippled to get on to wheelchairs,” he explained to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the first cerebral palsy symposium in Qatar.

Children with cerebral palsy have spasticity (stiff or rigid muscles with exaggerated, deep tendon reflexes, for example, a knee-jerk reflex), which can interfere with walking, movement, or speech.“We elongate some muscles and cut some others to make them loose and allow movement and flexibility,” pointed out Dr Shaarani, also a consultant paediatric orthopaedic.

Between two to three years of age is the ideal time to show an affected child for the first time to a surgeon, he added.In a presentation about dental problems in cerebral palsy, Primary Healthcare Department’s senior consultant Dr Mutaz Ahmed observed that incidence of dental decay is higher in this group, mainly due to poor oral hygiene.“Dental caries, gum disease, malocclusion, enamel defects, increased incidence of dental trauma, drooling, and grinding of teeth are among the main problems,” he explained.The incidence of gum disease is three times more among those with cerebral palsy than in the general population. The affected group also have a higher rate of dental enamel defects.“The increased risk for dental trauma can be attributed to problems with balance and muscle weakness in legs,” Dr Ahmed pointed out.Giving sedation, including general anaesthesia, is a very important option when doing dental procedures on an individual with cerebral palsy, as it may otherwise be difficult to control the patient.Highlighting the significance of maintaining proper dental hygiene in those with cerebral palsy the senior consultant suggested that parents should be instructed by dentists in this regard.“Cerebral palsy patients should be seen by a dentist every six months,” Dr Ahmed recommended while observing that electric toothbrush can be very useful for them.

Radiology, seizure disorders, growth and nutrition, medical management of spasticity, roles of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, orthotic, speech therapy and dietician, and education were the other topics of presentations at the symposium.

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