Botox injections are best known for reducing wrinkles on the face. However, experts at Loyola University Health System are finding new ways to use the injections in children with cerebral palsy, with most benefit in patients who are younger than 5 years old.“Children with cerebral palsy have very tight muscles, which get even tighter as the child grows,” said Dr. Deirdre Ryan, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Loyola who has been using Botox injections in these patients for several years.
Ryan also specializes in treating infant hip disorders, spina bifida, pediatric trauma and clubfeet, deformities of the ankles or the feet that are usually present at birth.Traditionally, physical therapy is used to help relax the muscles of these patients. However, most of these children need multiple surgeries to lengthen their muscles. “Botox can help us avoid surgery or decrease the number of surgeries needed in some cases,” Ryan noted
.“Botox also has helped some of these patients walk and care for themselves,” said Ryan.Congenital cerebral palsy is a group of motor problems and physical disorders that result from brain injury or abnormal brain development that may occur during fetal growth or at the time of birth.An estimated 6,000 new cases of cerebral palsy occur in the United States every year.