Infant Cerebral Palsy

"In the Clinic we have all the professionals that should compose the multidisciplinary team. We work as a team, in an agile and coordinated way, to allow an integral vision of the patient".


Childhood cerebral palsy is the most common cause of physical disability in the pediatric age. The prevalence in developed countries remains around 2 cases per 1,000 live newborns.

It is a disease that causes non-progressive alterations in the child's brain, either during the development of the fetus or the first months of the child's life.

This disease not only includes a motor affectation but frequently associates other phenomena such as epilepsy, visual, auditory, intellectual alterations or learning difficulties. Therefore the management is multidisciplinary.

In 75% of cases spasticity is the most common clinical symptom and is considered the main reason for discomfort, impaired gait and functional limitation in these patients.

What are the symptoms of infantile cerebral palsy?

Most common symptoms:

  • Spasticity.
  • Alterations of the march.
  • Alterations in fine motor skills.
  • Others: Epilepsy, visual or auditory deficits, learning difficulties, sleep problems, orthopedic, feeding and digestive problems.

Does your child have this problem?

We have a multidisciplinary team composed of the Neuropediatrician, Rehabilitation Physician, Neurosurgeon, Neurophysiologist, Children's Orthopedist, Anesthesiologist, Psychopedagogist and Physiotherapists

What are the causes of infant cerebral palsy?

Childhood cerebral palsy can occur at various times in a child's development:

  • Prenatal: The factors can be maternal, fetal or placental. Among others, there are maternal infections, coagulation alterations, exposure to drugs or other pregnancy complications, placental alterations, fetal CNS malformations, multiple gestation, etc.
  • Perinatal: prematurity, hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, CNS infection, hyperbilirubinemia, etc.
  • Postnatal: infection, trauma, cardiorespiratory arrest, etc.

What is your prognosis?

The prognosis is very variable and depends on the initial affectation.

However, since the damage that has occurred occurs at a specific time and does not evolve, the objective of treatment is to improve the problems caused and achieve an improvement in the functionality and quality of life of these patients.

How is infant cerebral palsy diagnosed?

<p>Imagen de niños con las pedagogas en la Unidad de Dravet de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra</p>

The diagnosis of infantile cerebral palsy is fundamentally clinical. It is based on medical history data, physical examination, and neuroimaging tests to assess brain damage.

When paralysis is associated with other problems, such as epilepsy, visual, cognitive, or hearing defects, other complementary tests are needed to assess the damage and predict prognosis.

How is infantile cerebral palsy treated?

The treatment is multidisciplinary given the different affectations.

In the first place, the treatment of motor disorders is based on physiotherapy, the use of orthotics, drugs or the use of botulinum toxin to reduce spasticity or dystonia, orthopedic surgery and surgery of the nervous system, in which selective dorsal rhizotomy stands out.

To treat the rest of the conditions there are drugs, educational therapies, ophthalmological and auditory correction available.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy is a surgery performed to reduce spasticity in the lower extremities of children with cerebral palsy in order to improve ambulation, reduce pain, improve quality of life, and decrease the number of long-term orthopedic interventions.

It is a not very complex technique in which, after monitoring in the operating room the spinal sensory pathways at the lumbar level, they are gradually stimulated to identify those that cause the greatest spasticity and these are the ones that are sectioned.

Thanks to the minimally invasive techniques that are currently being used, the risk of acute and chronic complications has decreased notably. Recovery from surgery requires 3 days of bed rest with a low level of pain, which is well controlled with oral analgesia.

In spite of being a simple technique that does not involve important complications, the recovery is slow and a later intense work of physical therapy is necessary to achieve an improvement of the mobility and the pain.

The patients who can benefit most from this surgery are those with spasticity in the lower extremities, who have their wandering preserved, without intellectual impairment, and who are able to cooperate with rehabilitation adequately.

Where do we treat it?


The Neuropediatrics Unit
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Unit is part of the Department of Pediatrics and works closely with specialists from other departments to provide integrated care for children and adolescents with risk factors or diseases affecting the central nervous system and neuromuscular system.

It is made up of a team of neuropediatric specialists and psychopedagogues.

Diseases we treat

  • Early development and its deviations.
  • Motor control disorders.
  • Global developmental disorders. Autism.
  • Epilepsy in children. Dravet syndrome.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. ADHD.
Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Teamwork to offer a valuation in 24 hours.
  • Most experienced nationally in Dravet Syndrome.