Spine surgery helps girl with cerebral palsy walk

April 19, 2017, Nationwide Children's Hospital
Bhoomi Manjunatha, age five, walks with crutches three months after having surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Bhoomi Manjunatha, age five, has been able to rely less on her walker and wheelchair, and more on her own two feet, because of a surgery performed at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Her hard work and determination in physical and occupational therapy post-surgery has also helped Bhoomi continue to make strides.

Bhoomi was born with cerebral palsy and spasticity, a muscle control disorder that involves tight or stiff muscles and the inability to control those muscles. Spasticity affects more than 12 million people worldwide, including 80 percent of people with .

The spinal surgery Bhoomi had in January, called selective dorsal rhizotomy, was performed by Jeffrey R. Leonard, MD, chief of Neurosurgery at Nationwide Children's. In the operating room, the surgery team anatomically divided out dorsal nerve roots which control the sensory portion of the spinal cord. They stimulate them electronically to determine which rootlets were abnormal and section about 60 percent of the feedback to prevent the tightening and stiffness that Bhoomi experienced.

"The surgery went well, but my part is easy. It is Bhoomi who has months of and therapy ahead of her to strengthen her muscles to take advantage of her newfound mobility," said Dr. Leonard, who is also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Without a multidisciplinary team of inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy working together, the benefits of rhizotomy would not materialize."

Credit: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Bhoomi is now four months post-surgery and the clinical team continues to work with her and collect data. So far, her walking has progressed, she has less pain and Dr. Leonard predicts her posture will improve and that she will require less orthopedic procedures in the future.

"Bhoomi is bright and energetic, you can see that from her smile. She is motivated and did everything that the therapist asked of her, working really hard in rehabilitation," said Dr. Leonard. "I think she is going to be dramatically effected in a very positive manner after having undergone the rhizotomy."

Dr. Leonard says there is data for different for spasticity: orthopedic procedure, alone, pump placement and rhizotomy. However, there are very few studies that have compared them, so he discusses with the family what is available, what has been studied and where the limitations in the data exist to determine what the best treatment options are for each individual patient. Dr. Leonard's team is currently collecting more information to help fill the gap in data.

At Nationwide Children's, every child diagnosed with a condition requiring neurosurgical expertise is handled with an individualized treatment plan. Children with spasticity must be screened and tested to determine if they are a candidate for rhizotomy. Request an appointment here.

Explore further: Long-term benefits of selective dorsal rhizotomy in children with spastic cerebral palsy

Related Stories

Long-term benefits of selective dorsal rhizotomy in children with spastic cerebral palsy

May 28, 2013
Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure used to treat spasticity in some children with spastic cerebral palsy. This procedure appears to be effective, but for how long? Researchers from Montreal, Quebec, ...

Man walks again after surgery to reverse muscle paralysis

February 28, 2013
After four years of confinement to a wheelchair, Rick Constantine, 58, is now walking again after undergoing an unconventional surgery at University of California, San Diego Heath System to restore the use of his leg. Neurosurgeon ...

Computer models help cerebral palsy patients step out

September 30, 2014
University of Queensland researchers are using computer modelling to predict the most effective way to help cerebral palsy patients walk and move more easily.

Hypnosis doesn't improve post-op anxiety, pain in children

April 18, 2017
(HealthDay)—A short hypnosis session performed in the operating room prior to major surgery does not improve postoperative anxiety and pain levels among pediatric patients, according to a study published online April 12 ...

Physical therapy proves as effective as surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

March 2, 2017
Physical therapy is as effective as surgery in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, according to a new study published in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT).

Conjoined twins successfully separated

September 8, 2015
Twin girls born joined at the pelvic and hip region are recovering after separation surgery Thursday, Sept. 3, at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The girls are named Acen and Apio, but on Thursday they were carefully labeled ...

Recommended for you

3-D-printed tracheal splints used in groundbreaking pediatric surgery

September 19, 2018
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has performed Georgia's first-ever procedure to place 3-D-printed tracheal splints in a pediatric patient. A cross-functional team of Children's surgeons used three custom-made splints, which ...

Muscle relaxants increase risk of respiratory complications

September 18, 2018
Muscle relaxants are a necessary part of anesthesia during certain major operations. However, studies have hinted at respiratory risks connected with these drugs. POPULAR, a major prospective observational European study ...

Gunshot victims require much more blood and are more likely to die than other trauma patients

September 17, 2018
In a new analysis of data submitted to Maryland's state trauma registry from 2005 to 2017, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers found that gunshot victims are approximately five times more likely to require blood transfusions, ...

Liver allocation system disadvantages children awaiting transplants

September 17, 2018
Children are at a considerable disadvantage when competing with adults for livers from deceased organ donors in the U.S. allocation system, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health-led analysis reveals ...

Taste preferences connected to success of long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery

September 16, 2018
Following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), a type of bariatric surgery, many patients exhibit a reduction in taste preference for sweet and fatty foods, although this effect may only be temporary, according to new research ...

New insights into what drives organ transplant rejection

September 6, 2018
When it comes to transplant rejection, some organs are far trickier than others. Some transplantable organs, such as the liver, are readily accepted by the recipient's immune system, rarely triggering an immune response and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.