Because of the complexity and unpredictability of symptoms of cerebral palsy in young children, parents often struggle to manage the various treatment options and their effectiveness. Research is continually being done on how cerebral palsy can be treated and managed and one treatment that may be helpful for some children whose cerebral palsy has caused a leg length discrepancy is leg lengthening treatment. Research has shown that leg lengthening treatment can be an effective way to manage the difficulties of a leg length discrepancy, but it also has serious risks and parents should consider this option carefully before committing their child to this procedure.
What Are the Symptoms of a Leg Length Discrepancy?
Leg length discrepancies resulting from cerebral palsy exist at birth, but often do not become apparent until a child is old enough to move by herself. They may be difficult to diagnose because a discrepancy may be small enough to be unnoticeable but still cause significant delays in walking, running, and jumping.
While a mild leg length discrepancy may not cause any serious impediment to a child’s movement and can often be treated with orthotics, a more significant discrepancy can cause problems that range from making walking somewhat difficult to being quite painful and causing serious mobility problems. Significant leg length discrepancies can cause back, knee, and hip problems, including scoliosis and fatigue. It may also be difficult to find clothes that fit your child right.
Leg Lengthening Surgery
Leg lengthening treatments can adjust the shorter leg or the longer leg; more often, the shorter leg undergoes a lengthening surgery wherein the smaller leg bone is separated in two and an artificial device slowly increases the distance between the two pieces of the bone. As the pieces move apart, new bone growth fills in the space created by the device. Depending on the amount of lengthening needed, children can have several cycles of lengthening.
However, leg lengthening surgery has serious risks. It can cause nerve damage, muscle damage, arthritis, and other problems that can be difficult to treat. Parents should talk to their children’s team of medical experts and only make the decision to pursue leg lengthening treatment if the potential benefits outweigh the risks and alternative options are ineffective.
Contact a Cook County Birth Injuries Attorney
Cerebral palsy can be a difficult condition to manage as it may require extensive medical treatment that can be expensive and painful for your child. If you believe a medical professional was possibly responsible for your child suffering from cerebral palsy due to medical negligence at birth, schedule a free, no-pressure consultation with a Cook County birth injuries attorney at Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd.. We have helped many parents recover personal injury damages after a doctor, nurse, or midwife acted irresponsibly and caused injury to a child. Call us now at 312-462-4200 to find out more.