Neuromuscular Program

The Neuromuscular Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, part of the Children’s Orthopaedic Center, is the largest in the region, treating thousands of children each year with neuromuscular diseases - from cerebral palsy to muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and Rett Syndrome.

Neuromuscular Disease Treatment & Care

Our specialists use the latest technology to treat the various muscle issues that lead to movement problems or walking abnormalities, caused by muscle pain or weakness, to help children walk better, faster and stronger.

Children with neuromuscular diseases require a global and comprehensive approach to care. As a parent, you will want to work with staff who are well-versed in coordinating the multiple medical treatments and issues to anticipate during growth and development. Treatment plans, include physical therapy, bracing, movement control and surgery.

Neuromuscular Program and Research

The Neuromuscular Program is a recognized leader for both its clinical and research expertise. The main research focus is on treatment outcomes in children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other neuromuscular conditions. We continue to have ongoing government funded research. The research allows us to optimize treatment outcomes the children we see. The results of our research has been published and presented nationally and internationally, and has enhanced the care of children throughout the United States and the world.

Cerebal Palsy

Cerebral palsy affects approximately 1 in 300 children, and more than 500,000 people in the United States. In conjunction with the Division of Neurology at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, diagnostic evaluation and management is provided for children with cerebral palsy and associated developmental disabilities.

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy affects approximately 1 in 20,000 children and is known to be genetic. The muscles in the body tend to get weaker and may appear early on in childhood or as an adult.

Neuromuscular Diseases

Neuromuscular Diseases is a term used to describe various muscular diseases associated with the growing body.

Neuromuscular Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatments can be done with non-invasive procedures: 
  • Botox®
  • Leg braces
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orthotics
  • Physical therapy
  • Spasticity management

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment generally involves multiple level surgery focusing on treatment of fixed contracture with: 

  • Tendon lenthening
  • Tendon transfer
  • Osteotromy for bone deformity
  • Relocation of dislocated joints

Commonly Treated Neuromuscular Disorders

The Neuromuscular Program is nationally recognized for advancing treatments for children by providing state-of-the-art surgical and non-surgical treatment for:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Familial and acquired neuropathies
  • Mitochondrial disorders
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myopathies
  • Neuromuscular diseases
  • Rett syndrome
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

The program also offers surgical and non-surgical treatments for children with the following disorders:

  • Achillestendon contracture
  • Adductor muscle(s) contractures
  • Bone deformities
  • Fermoral anteversion
  • Flat foot
  • Gastronemius tendon contracture
  • Hamstring(s) contracture
  • Metatarsus adductus
  • Tibial torsion

John C. Wilson Jr. Motion Analysis Laboratory

The John C. Wilson Jr. Motion Analysis Laboratory at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is the only motion analysis lab in Los Angeles county, and one of only two in Southern California, dedicated to the evaluation of children with walking disorders. It is an invaluable tool in assessing children with neuromuscular disease.

The complex data retrieved from the lab helps build a comprehensive pre-operative plan specifically for each child. Our research shows the motion analysis results leads to changes in surgical plans for nearly 90 percent of patients.

As a child walks, muscle sensors are taped to their skin to measure their motion. Sensors on the floor record the force of their body. Computerized 3D images, synchronized data from the cameras, muscle sensors and force plates all determine a series of graphs detailing positions of the child's bones and joints, abnormal muscle activity and joint forces that occur as they walk.

With leading-edge technology, and world-class staff, the John C. Wilson Jr. Motion Analysis Laboratory serves as a premier referral center for children throughout the Western United States.

Our Team

Throughout a child's care, the Neuromuscular Program provides a comprehensive and multi-interdisciplinary team of uniquely trained physicians, equipped with several years of experience: 

  • Cardiologists
  • Microsurgeons
  • Neurologists
  • Orthopaedic surgeons
  • Pediatric surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Pulmonologists

It is critical that parents and children recognize the commitment involved in bracing, therapy and at-home programs as recommended by the neuromuscular team.