Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a broad term that describes a group of neurological (brain) disorder. The team at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital will provide the specialized care your child needs.

Cerebral palsy is is a lifelong condition that affects the communication between the brain and the muscles, causing a state of uncoordinated movement and posturing or stiffness.

Cerebral palsy occurs when there is abnormal development or damage to areas in the brain that control motor function. 

Risk factors for cerebral palsy include:

  • Prematurity and very low birthweight (especially in babies weighing less than 3.3 pounds)
  • Chemical or substance abuse during pregnancy
  • Infections
  • Bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage)
  • Severe jaundice
  • Trauma or head injury
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain before birth or in early infancy
  • Complications of labor and delivery (about 10 percent of cases)

Many cases of cerebral palsy have unknown causes. It occurs in approximately three out of every 1,000 live births.

Management of cerebral palsy focuses on preventing or minimizing deformities and maximizing your child's capabilities at home and in the community. Depending on your child’s needs, treatment can include rehabilitation, medications, braces or splints, and in some cases, orthopedic surgery.

Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital pediatric neurologists specialize in problems related to the brain, spine and nervous system, including headaches, tics, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, developmental delays and neuromuscular disorders. Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital is the region’s only associate member of the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA).

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