Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity Program

Focused on a multidisciplinary approach for treating spasticity disorders in babies, children and adolescents.

The program strives to treat and prevent mechanically unbalanced joints in children with spasticity to improve functional performance and foster a more independent lifestyle.

girl in neck brace and special wheelchair white framing element
girl in neck brace and special wheelchair white framing element

The Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity Program brings together a multidisciplinary team from the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Surgery Program and Brain Institute. The teams work collaboratively to treat children with movement conditions and disorders, including cerebral palsy. The program is one of the few of its kind in the state of Florida for the treatment of children with cerebral palsy and spasticity.

The Importance of a Team Approach to Care

During clinic visits, patients are seen by specialists in orthopedics, neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and physical/occupational therapy. Specialists meet after each clinic and discuss every case individually. The clinical coordinator reaches out to the family to review treatment recommendations and schedule specific interventions. The program also includes in-house orthotists that work with patients and families to measure and fit patients with supportive devices.

The goal is to maximize movement, comfort and quality of life for affected children and their families.

Treatments and Procedures

  • Single Event Multilevel Surgery

Treatments and Procedures

The Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity Program offers a variety of treatments options to manage spasticity. Treatments options are individualized to each patient depending on the cause of the condition, age, general health and nutritional status as well as goals of treatment.

Conditions We Treat

Treatment Options for Spasticity

A common characteristic of various neurological disorders is spasticity, which is the excessive tightness or tension of certain muscle groups. It interferes with smooth, coordinated motions, and results in limited movement patterns and impaired motor skills.

The program offers both medical and surgical interventions for the treatment of cerebral palsy.  Medications include oral baclofen. The program also provides selective spasticity control using Botox and disport injections. A Botox or Dysport injection is an injection of botulinum toxin (which causes temporary paralysis) into a muscle to relieve spasticity and involuntary movements.

Children able to walk alone or with braces, walker, or crutches may be videotaped. Each team member will examine the child. The group will then meet to discuss which procedure will be in the child's best interest. The surgeon will discuss with the family the risks and the potential benefits and if surgery is scheduled, the clinical nurse specialist will assist in obtaining equipment and coordinating therapies.

While neither of these spasticity treatments - selective dorsal rhizotomy or the Baclofen pump - will eliminate the underlying neurological problem (e.g. Cerebral palsy), reducing the spasticity may allow better muscle control and function. Physical and occupational therapy will also be essential before and after surgery.

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Wheelchair/Seating and Mobility Clinic

The Wheelchair and DME (Durable Medical Equipment) Clinic held once a week, serves children with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions ranging from muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Patients can be evaluated and fitted for wheelchairs, specialized walkers, chairs and bath equipment. There is a multi-specialty group of providers including a physical therapist, orthotist and wheel chair vendors who evaluate the each patient’s abilities and needs.

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Stories to Inspire

Kyrie was born prematurely at only 24 weeks and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a toddler. Life keeps getting better for Kyrie after a life-changing surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital that has enabled him to do things his parents never before thought possible, such as swimming and horseback riding. He is now walking independently and continues to show his fighting spirit.
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Awards & Associations