It can be almost impossible to imagine sending your newborn into a surgical theater for some sort of treatment soon after they have been born, but if that same baby suffered a birth injury it may be their best chance for a healthier life. After all, a lot of birth injuries are also brain or nerve injuries, and either of these types of injury can lead to lifelong disability and struggles. If a surgical procedure soon after birth can alleviate many of the problems associated with a condition, it must be done.
What Sort of Injuries Require Surgery?
What sort of surgical procedures are used? Because birth injury has such a broad range of injuries, there are many types of procedures used on infants. The following are the most common causes and the procedures used:
Brain Injury or Head Trauma
Infants have very delicate heads and they can suffer injuries to them due to the use of medical devices during delivery or when a certain health condition arises that has a negative impact on the brain. Among the more common issues that lead to surgery are skull fracture or head trauma, bleeding in the brain, and compression in the skull.
Physicians may decide that surgical decompression, debridgement or evacuation is needed, or that another sort of craniotomy is necessary to preserve the baby’s brain function and health.
Of course, surgery is not always the immediate “go to” solution to a health problem brought on by birth injury. A key example of this is Erb’s palsy. This is a disorder that is caused by pulling or tugging on the baby during delivery, and crushing or harming nerves in the brachial plexus area. This can leave the baby with an inability to move their arms, and if therapies are not effective, surgery is always an option.
Most surgeries must be done within the first six months of life, or within a year at the latest. It may involve nerve grafting to replace or rebuild damaged nerves, and it does have an excellent rate of success.
This birth injury can cause uncontrollable spasms and muscle rigidity. It is due to oxygen deprivation and brain trauma, and yet there are two types of surgery that are now being used to help with the muscular symptoms: these are SDR or selective dorsal rhizotomy and orthopedic surgery. SDR alleviates muscle stiffness through removal of some nerve fibers. It requires extensive testing prior to the treatment but can allow far better and more controlled movement. To perform the procedure, orthopedic surgeries focus on severing certain tendons or muscles that allow the infant to develop much greater range of motion.
The Earlier the Better
In almost all birth injury cases and the surgeries used to treat them, doctors and experts agree that the earlier in the child’s life, the better. This is due to a number of factors, and though there is great debate in some areas as to when to use surgery, the consensus is that surgical remedies are an option.
In addition to surgeries that directly treat the conditions, there are some secondary surgeries that may need to be considered later in a child’s life. For instance, medicine pumps can be surgically implanted to deliver the most balanced amounts of medication into a child’s system. This can alleviate any errors in dosage or missed doses, and this helps to provide a child with a birth injury with far more consistent quality of life.
If your child has suffered a birth injury and requires surgery to address the problems, do keep in mind that you should not be handling these expenses on your own. A birth injury is due to medical malpractice, negligence, or carelessness, and because of that you should pursue compensation for the costs and the pain and suffering the child has to endure.
- WebMD. Cerebral Palsy -Surgery. 2015. http://www.webmd.com/children/tc/cerebral-palsy-surgery