Cerebral palsyis a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by an insult to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth.
Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years. In general, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, or some combination of these.
People with cerebral palsy may have difficulty with swallowing and commonly have eye muscle imbalance. People with cerebral palsy may have reduced range of motion at various joints of their bodies due to muscle stiffness.
The effect of cerebral palsy on functional abilities varies greatly. Some people are able to walk while others aren't able to walk. Some people show normal to near normal intellectual function, but others may have intellectual disabilities. Epilepsy, blindness or deafness also may be present.
People with cerebral palsy often have underlying developmental brain abnormalities.
Babies and infants diagnosed with cerebral palsy may have weakness, stiff muscles or unusual movements. They may not meet their developmental milestones on time. Your doctor may see signs of cerebral palsy soon after your baby's birth or sometime in the first two years.
To ensure the best possible health and development outcome, your child with cerebral palsy is likely to need coordinated care by a number of doctors in various specialties during the growing years. As your child grows to adulthood, Mayo Clinic can provide a smooth transition from pediatric care to coordinated medical care with adult care doctors.
A team can include doctors trained in many areas, including brain and nervous system conditions (neurologists), treatment of children with brain and nervous system conditions (pediatric neurologists), brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgeons), conditions of the bones and skeletal surgery (orthopedic surgeons), physical medicine and rehabilitation, and other areas.
Doctors collaborate with therapists, nurses, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, and others trained to help people overcome limitations and make the most of their capabilities.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery and for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked high performing for neurology and neurosurgery and for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery and for orthopedics.
At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.
Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.