Medical Minute 9-24: Solving Cerebral Palsy in 3-D

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

It's Christian Magana is one of 800,000 people in the U.S. battling cerebral palsy. Four months ago, Christian had leg surgery ,and a computer with an electric eye and a rolling camera told doctors how to help him.

"What we seek to do is alter the appearance and the functionality of the walking pattern," said Douglas Barnes, M.D., Chief of Staff/Medical Director of the Motion Analysis Lab Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston, Texas.

Doctor Douglas Barnes works in the motion analysis lab at Shriners Hospital for Children. As a patient treads floor plates, cameras track their movements in three-D. Doctors measure hip, knee and ankle motion then decide which treatments are necessary.

"It helps us by giving us a better video picture of how the patient moves," said Steven Irby, Engineer at Motion Analysis Lab Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston, Texas.

Post-surgery recap shows how drastically the patient's movement has been corrected. Here, you see how surgery helps place more weight on more of the foot. Doctor Barnes says a surgery without these tools could be risky.

"It may not include the appropriate procedures. It may add too many. It may not add enough," said Douglas Barnes, M.D.

After surgery, a camera unit -- posted seven feet high -- tracks each patient as if it was stationed on their hip -- showing kids how far they've come.

"The physician can actually pull up the video, show him how he did walk, show him how he is walking, and it really helps in that communication," said Steven Irby.

Christian feels the difference with every step.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:Jo Ann Zuniga, PR Director Shriners Hospital for Children Houston, TX(713) 793-3725jazuniga@shrinenet.org


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