Spasticity care at Norton Children’s

Norton Children’s board-certified neurosurgeons are led by Thomas M. Moriarity, M.D., Ph.D., a recognized leader in the field with deep experience and specialized training.

Our physicians have the sophisticated tools and skill to give you and your child a precise diagnosis and a treatment plan for spasticity that minimizes risk, so your child can get back to being a kid.

Spasticity refers to a muscle control disorder that involves tight or stiff muscles that can’t be controlled.

Understanding spasticity

Our bodies are able to stay upright and move because of a complex system that contracts some muscles and relaxes other muscles simultaneously. When this system is disrupted, muscles can begin to tighten involuntarily and out of sync with the rest of the body. We call this spasticity.

Spasticity affects nearly 80 percent of people with cerebral palsy. It can prevent normal muscle movement and make it harder for your child’s bones and muscles to grow. Some children may experience issues with their posture. Spasticity can lead to other conditions such as contractures, joint deformity and scoliosis, among others.

Surgical treatment options for spasticity

  • Oral baclofen is a medication that helps relax certain muscles in the body. High doses of oral baclofen can relieve spasms, cramps and tightness in muscles. Your health care provider may recommend surgically inserting an intrathecal baclofen pump. Placed in the abdomen, this pump sends baclofen directly to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which means lower doses are required. That can help minimize side effects on your child.
  • Spasticity in the lower half of the body may be treated through dorsal rhizotomy. A neurosurgeon cuts the dorsal roots of spinal nerves as they leave the spinal column. This helps disrupt the pathways carrying the spastic messages back and forth to your child’s legs. The surgery can help improve your child’s ability to sit, increase the range of motion in the knees and ease movement. This surgery has little to no effect on the upper half of the body.

Nonsurgical treatments for spasticity

Neurosurgery isn’t the default option for treating spasticity, but it may be the best option for your child. Our care team at Norton Children’s Hospital can help you determine what treatment options can provide the most relief and best outcome for your child.

Neuroscience

Contact Us

Connect to the Norton Children’s Hospital Neurology team
(502) 588-3650

Connect with Norton Children’s Neurosurgery team
(502) 583-1697

Home & BMW Raffle winners drawn at Snow Ball

The winners of the 2019 Norton Children’s Hospital Home & BMW Raffle were drawn during the annual Snow Ball gala on Saturday, Nov. 23. The grand prize winner of a beautiful new home in Norton […]

Read Full Story

My child had a seizure. Is it epilepsy?

If your child has a seizure, it can be scary. What caused the seizure? Could your child have epilepsy? While epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in the U.S., having a seizure […]

Read Full Story

Travel tips to help kids stay injury-free during holiday travel

Holiday travel can be filled with a lot of fun memories for kids — road trips with the entire family, visits to their grandma’s and grandpa’s house and more. Before families hit the road this […]

Read Full Story

What your donations to Norton Children’s funded in 2018

The life-changing care provided by Norton Children’s throughout Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of those who contribute to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Over 30,000 donors gave a total of […]

Read Full Story

Huge jump in RSV cases among Louisville-area children

The increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis is persisting in the Louisville area, with more than 300 cases diagnosed by Norton Healthcare providers this season. The latest data, from just before the Thanksgiving […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.