Tone Inhibiting Casts in Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a tough problem in Paediatric Orthopaedics. The children have spasm, contracture and variety of coordination issues , balancing issues, seizures and other symptoms like tremor, dystonia which makes treatment quite a challenge. This is more so in the younger children where we would like to have a tool that is non invasive and still helps relieve spasm.

Tone Inhibiting casts offer an invaluable tool to control spasm in a very young child that you would want to avoid surgery.

The dosage of surgery in cerebral palsy has to carefully titrated as muscle are inherently weak and over-lengthening can be disastrous.

We try to avoid overzealous initial surgery and but time when possible with plaster casting to reduce muscle spasm.

Tone Inhibiting Casts are a vanishing tool these days in medical professionals’ armamentarium but find it a great tool. In India with cost of Botox injections to relieve being very high and in the class of patients I treat many of who are from poorest strata this is a godsend.

Cast application is done under general anaesthesia so that adequate muscle relaxation is obtained and we take great care for a close , bespoke type fit with good pressure relief over bony prominences. Prevention of pressure sores is very important and technique of cast application – the fit, padding, tightness, joint position, strength of cast all play a role in the final result.

We keep child on physiotherapy all through the time child is on cast to keep up muscle strength and also aid stretching. A cast usually is kept for 6 weeks. Sometimes in severe spasm we have staged application of casts to progressively apply it lesser flexion of joints as the muscle tone decreases.

Published by dreaswar

Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu & Palakkad, Kerala India

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