When a child has a condition that requires multiple practitioners, multiple medical visits, and multiple medical disciplines, providing convenience for the patient and their families is crucial. Valley Health’s Center for Pediatric Spasticity is the region’s only comprehensive center for children with spasticity, which is muscle rigidness and spasms that are caused by cerebral palsy, stroke, or other neurological issues.
The Center for Pediatric Spasticity offers a team-based approach to care for children with special needs. The center offers patients and their families the breadth and expertise not easily obtained elsewhere.
The pediatric spasticity patients are seen by an interdisciplinary team of practitioners that includes, board-certified pediatric physicians, physiatrists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedists. In addition, there are social workers, physical therapists, orthotists, DME providers and nurse practitioners.
“Collaboration and communication between the prescribing physician and therapists are not only crucial for the success of our patients as we look to improve their quality of life, but it is also unique to our department,” said Dr. Angela D’Alessandro, clinical director of the Kireker Center for Child Development. “I know what my patient’s therapists’ treatment plans are and they know what I have ordered, which helps alleviate any confusion for practitioners and parents and ensures we are all on the same page working holistically.”
What to Expect
When a child comes to the Center for Pediatric Spasticity, the child, and the parent meet with an interdisciplinary team of specialists who examine them and learn about the child’s health history. The aim is to identify and address the goals of the patient and parent. This collaborative approach ensures all providers understand the child’s individual medical needs and can work together to create a treatment plan. This eliminates any back and forth to different offices, different doctors, and any waiting time for them to communicate. The patient-centered approach has helped hundreds of patients.
The Center for Pediatric Spasticity offers many types of treatments for its patients. The goal is to help pediatric patients improve their comfort, function, and mobility, learn how to take care of themselves, and help increase their range of motion. By offering the services under one roof, patients not only receive high-level care from doctors and staff who work together and see the whole picture. Treatments include, physical, occupational and speech therapy, oral medications, injectable medications, bracing, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, Botox to relax tightened or spastic muscles.
Pediatric Neurosurgical Spasticity Treatments
Valley offers two life-changing neurosurgical procedures for our pediatric spasticity patients: Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) and Intrathecal Baclofen Pump. Both procedures are performed by our pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Richard Anderson.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy
Pediatric patients with significant spasticity require a long lasting, permanent treatment to allow them to move with greater ease. Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy is performed by separating the nerve fiber and cutting the nerve rootlets in the spinal cord that send misfiring signals to the muscles. Children who have SDR typically see immediate improvement during their brief hospital stay. They require inpatient rehabilitation to learn how to move in a more physiologic way. SDR is the most powerful, long lasting, and permanent way to help with spasticity.
Intrathecal Baclofen Pump
Patients who have extreme upper body spasticity might not be a candidate for SDR but can find improvement with an Intrathecal Baclofen Pump procedure. Baclofen is a powerful muscle relaxant medicine commonly used to reduce spasticity long term however, it is best tolerated when administered to the target site in the spinal cord by an implantable pump. The pump is surgically placed in the patient’s abdomen. Patients who have a pump need to have the medicine refilled periodically and sometimes need a replacement.
Said Valley Health System pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Anderson, “I am dedicated to the care of my pediatric patients and work tirelessly to ensure they receive the best care possible. I am honored to work with the multidisciplinary team at Valley Hospital and proud of the work we do to help our pediatric spasticity patients see marked improvements in their daily lives.”