What’s New in the Orthopaedic Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

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Abstract

Background:

The orthopaedic treatment of the patient with cerebral palsy (CP) is complex and must take into account the heterogeneity and natural history of the condition. Although the goals of management are for the most part universal, the specific interventions and outcome measures used to reach these goals are wide ranging. This update serves to summarize some of the recent publications in the field of pediatric orthopaedics that have made important contributions to our understanding and care of the patient with CP.

Methods:

We searched the PubMed database using the following terms: “cerebral palsy” AND “orthopedic.” The results were then filtered to include only review papers or clinical trials published in English from 2010 to 2014. The obtained list of references was then reviewed for publications in the fields of lower extremity muscle imbalance, foot and ankle deformities, hip and acetabular dysplasia, and advances in orthopaedic-related technology.

Results:

Updates in the field of pediatric orthopaedics are constant and the current level of evidence for the effectiveness of specific treatment modalities in patients with CP was reviewed. The search method yielded 153 publications, of which 31 papers were identified as having contributed important new findings.

Conclusions:

Our understanding of orthopaedic treatments for children with CP continues to grow and expand. The studies reviewed illustrate just some of the strides we have taken in utilizing evidence-based surgical decision making in practice. Nevertheless, there remains a paucity of randomized controlled trials and higher evidence research, which may contribute to the variability in current practices among providers. By elucidating these gaps we can more purposefully delegate our time and resources into targeted areas of research.

Level of Evidence:

Level 4—literature review.

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