Cerebral palsy

Lancet. 2004 May 15;363(9421):1619-31. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(04)16207-7.


Cerebral palsy, a range of non-progressive syndromes of posture and motor impairment, is a common cause of disability in childhood. The disorder results from various insults to different areas within the developing nervous system, which partly explains the variability of clinical findings. Management options include physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, orthotics, device-assisted modalities, pharmacological intervention, and orthopaedic and neurosurgical procedures. Since 1980, modification of spasticity by means of orally administered drugs, intramuscular chemodenervation agents (alcohol, phenol, botulinum toxin A), intrathecally administered drugs (baclofen), and surgery (neurectomy, rhizotomy) has become more frequent. Family-directed use of holistic approaches for their children with cerebral palsy includes the widespread adoption of complementary and alternative therapies; however, the prevalence of their use and the cost of these options are unknown. Traditional medical techniques (physiotherapy, bracing, and orthopaedic musculoskeletal surgery) remain the mainstay of treatment strategies at this time. This seminar addresses only the musculoskeletal issues associated with cerebral palsy and only indirectly discusses the cognitive, medical, and social issues associated with this diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy* / complications
  • Cerebral Palsy* / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy* / etiology
  • Cerebral Palsy* / therapy
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / therapy
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / therapy
  • Quality of Life