Cerebral palsy - investigating surgery to help walking | Children's Charity

Cerebral palsy - investigating surgery to help walking

Project LeaderMr T N Theologis MSc PhD FRCS
Project team
  • Dr N Thompson MSc MCSP PhD
  • Dr J A Stebbins DPhil SRCS Csci
  • Professor D C Perry MB ChB FRCS(Orth) PhD
  • Professor J G Wright CM MD MPH FRCSC FRCSEd
  • Professor D J Beard GDPhys MCSP MSc Dphil
  • Mrs J S Birks MA MSc,
LocationPaediatric Orthopaedic Department, Oxford Gait Laboratory
Other locations
  • Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science, University of Oxford
Duration3 years
Grant awarded15 August 2018
Provisional start date1 February 2019
Provisional end date31 January 2022
Grant amount£199,889.00
Grant codeGN2721

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Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition caused by damage to the brain before or during birth. It is the most common serious physical problem in children, estimated to affect more than 1,500 babies born in the UK each year. Children with cerebral palsy develop stiff muscles and bone and joint deformities which affect how they move and function in their daily lives. In approximately a third of these children, the condition mainly affects their legs making walking difficult and in some cases, impossible. Surgery can help children overcome some of these difficulties by correcting the muscle, bone, and joint deformities. A type of orthopaedic surgery called SEMLS (Single Event Multi-Level Surgery) where many procedures are carried out in a single operation is widely used in the UK, but it is unclear how effective the surgery is, and which children benefit the most.


The research project

These researchers will collect information nationally over a one year period, on children aged between five and 18 years with cerebral palsy, recommended for treatment by SEMLS. They will follow up the children one and two years after surgery by talking to the surgeons and the children and their families. The team will be especially focussed on what matters to the children and their families. Families who decide not to pursue SEMLS will also be followed up. This study will help us understand better which children are most likely to have a good result from SEMLS. The results will also help surgeons improve how SEMLS is performed and select the best type of rehabilitation for individual patients. In the longer term, this project will guide future research to help children with cerebral palsy get the best possible treatment to improve their walking.

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