Study Finds Hip Replacement Surgery Safe and Effective in Patients with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, motor skills and muscle tone. It is usually the result of brain injury or malformation that occurs in utero, during birth, or during the first year of life while the brain is still under development. Although cerebral palsy is a non-degenerative condition, meaning it does not grow worse with age, the physical symptoms of cerebral palsy can cause patients to feel the effects of aging much earlier.

Patients with cerebral palsy often experience difficulty with their hips due to muscle imbalance. This frequently results in hip pain, difficulty walking or sitting and limitations in daily tasks. Total hip replacement surgery is an effective treatment option for this type of problem, but the surgery is considered high-risk for cerebral palsy patients, and little data exists regarding surgical outcomes. However, a recent study published in Acta Orthopaedica found that total hip replacement surgery appears to be safe and greatly improves quality of life among those with cerebral palsy.

To conduct this study, researchers used records from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and the National Joint Registry for England and Wales. They identified a total of 389 cerebral palsy patients who underwent total hip replacement surgery and 425, 813 hip replacement patients without cerebral palsy. When surgical outcomes from the two groups were compared, the researchers found that the patients with cerebral palsy had a 6.4 percent probability of revision within five years of surgery, compared to a 2.9 percent rate in the group without cerebral palsy.

When evaluating patient-reported surgical outcomes, the researchers noted that cerebral palsy patients reported more pain and worse function before surgery than the group without cerebral palsy. However, both groups reported similar improvement after surgery. In addition, 91 percent of cerebral palsy patients reported that they were highly satisfied with their surgery outcome.

Mortality rates between the two groups were similar, indicating that hip replacement surgery is a safe treatment option for cerebral palsy patients (Source: Cerebral Palsy New Today).

While the results of this study overwhelmingly indicate that patients with cerebral palsy can benefit from hip replacement surgery, this procedure has a high success rate with other patients as well. A study led by Carol A. Mancuso, M.D., of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, found that nearly 90 percent of patients report that their expectations with hip replacement surgery were completely or partially met (Source: Hospital for Special Surgery). The primary benefits of this surgery include pain relief, increased range of motion, improved mobility, and better ability to perform daily tasks.

Medical advancements now allow for minimally invasive techniques in hip replacement surgery that are safer, more comfortable, and have a shorter recovery period. To find out more information or to see if you are a candidate, talk to your doctor or orthopedist. Hip replacement surgery could be the answer to restoring your movement and quality of life.