By Dr Amar Singh Chundawat
According to World Health Organization, 10 per cent of the global population and 3.8 per cent of Indians are affected by the disability. According to the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy’s report, around 33,000 individuals suffer from cerebral palsy, despite the fact that worldwide cases number one for every 500 births. Also, 13 out of 14 cases of cerebral palsy happen while the mother is in the initial phase of pregnancy or first month after birth in India. With cerebral palsy, a child’s gross and fine motor skills are not coordinated, interfering with mobility and affecting quality of life.
A number of economic weaker families also face the challenge needing financial assistance for their child’s surgery. Doctors have suggested that before the surgery, a child should be screened and evaluated to check for the eligibility for this surgery so that problems such as bone deformities and contractures can be alleviated.
There are multiple surgeries available but reducing the real chance is through learning to walk by Selective Posterior Rhizotomy (SPR), also called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). Between ages 3 to 10 years, children are most suitable for rhizotomy surgical procedures. This surgery releases the harmful spasticity enough to give a child a chance to learn walking by himself.
With this surgery, a neurosurgeon first selects and separates the most spastic nerves through electrical stimulation and then works on selective cutting of some of the nerves in the spinal cord which relieves muscles spasticity. After surgery, the child is able to walk, dress himself and become pain-free, which ultimately helps in developing positive behavior; he is able to read ,write and communicate better.
Complications after surgery
After the surgery, children may face complications like transient dysesthesia, numbness, tingling, transient urinary retention (frequent) and back pain. The child may require effective treatment with physical and occupational therapy.
(The writer is Chief Surgeon, Narayan Seva Sansthan.)