By providing the best in care from childhood into adulthood, our doctors are experts in treating your child with muscular dystrophy. Medical City Children’s Orthopedic Spine Specialists understand the complexities of treating this disease and know the importance of treating patients beyond the age of eighteen.
Your child will never outgrow our practice. We continue to treat children with Muscular Dystrophy beyond the age of 18.
Muscular Dystrophy Doctors in the Dallas & Fort Worth Area
When your child receives a diagnosis for a chronic, lifetime health issue like muscular dystrophy, you may feel overwhelmed. At Medical City Children’s Orthopedic and Spine Specialists, we are here to partner with patients and their parents to achieve comfort optimal health, and function for their lifetime. Meanwhile, we are one call away through every step of the treatment and process.
The benefit of seeing specialists at our offices provides children with accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for the very best of medical care. Unlike other orthopedic practices, we do not put an age limit on lifetime illnesses, and therefore, your child will never outgrow our practice. To find out more or schedule a consultation visit for your child, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at one of our five convenient DFW Metroplex locations.
Contact us to learn more or schedule an appointment at the location nearest you.
What Causes Muscular Dystrophy?
Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited disorders that impact the function and development of the muscles. Over time, rather than growing in strength, muscle matter is broken down and replaced with fatty tissue. In addition, there are two main types of this disorder: Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD). Both of these common forms are almost entirely suffered by male children. On the other hand, girls are often carriers of the genetic makeup of this disorder, but they only very rarely suffer from any of the physical concerns associated with the disease.
The first step in a muscular dystrophy diagnosis is a blood test that will check for genetic factors that often lead to this disorder. When we find indicators of the condition, we will then take a small muscle biopsy. Similarly, a small section of the damaged muscle tissue is examined. If the muscles do show signs of dystrophy, we will likely recommend an electromyogram to ensure the muscle loss isn’t caused by nerve damage. If your child experiences any of the following muscular dystrophy warning signs, we urge you to consider consulting with our team.
- Clumsiness and loss of coordination often lead to frequent trips and falls
- Difficulty performing tasks like climbing stairs, jumping, or hopping
- Walking on tiptoes or abnormal gait
- Leg pain, numbness, or sensitivity
- Weakness in the shoulders and arms
- Loss of control over facial muscles including the inability to close eyes or whistle
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is muscular dystrophy, and how did my child develop it?
Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of genetic disorders characterized by the progressive weakening and degeneration of muscle tissues. Primarily, children typically inherit the condition, meaning it’s passed down through the genes from one or both parents. There are several types of muscular dystrophy, each caused by specific genetic mutations. These mutations affect the production of proteins necessary for muscle function. Parents may wish to consult a genetic counselor to understand the inheritance pattern and potential risk factors in their family.
What are the treatment options for my child with muscular dystrophy?
While a cure for muscular dystrophy does not yet exist, there are various strategies and interventions to manage the condition and improve the child’s quality of life. These can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive devices (such as braces or wheelchairs), and medications aimed at managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. In some cases, clinical trials may be available. It’s essential for parents to work closely with a medical team, which may include neurologists, physical therapists, and other specialists, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their child’s needs.
What is the long-term prognosis for my child with muscular dystrophy?
- The prognosis for a child with muscular dystrophy depends on several factors, including the type of muscular dystrophy they have, the severity of their symptoms, and the specific genetic mutations involved. While some types of muscular dystrophy progress slowly, others may progress more rapidly. Advances in medical care and research have led to improved management of the condition and a better quality of life for many affected individuals. Parents should have open and ongoing discussions with their child’s healthcare providers to better understand their child’s prognosis and to make informed decisions about their care and lifestyle.
In addition to these questions, parents may have many other concerns about education, emotional support, and community resources. It’s crucial for parents to establish a strong support network and work closely with healthcare professionals who can provide guidance and support throughout their child’s journey with muscular dystrophy.
“Our doctors and clinicians are available to the family to answer any questions or listen to any concerns. Then we spend quality time discussing treatment options with the parents to assure that we are all in agreement before implementing a treatment plan.” Dr. Shyam Kishan
Muscular Dystrophy Symptoms
Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic disorders characterized by progressive muscle weakness and degeneration. Ultimately, the specific symptoms can vary depending on the type of the condition and the individual, but here are some common symptoms:
- Muscle Weakness: Progressive muscle weakness is the hallmark symptom of muscular dystrophy. Basically, it typically begins in a specific group of muscles and gradually spreads to affect other muscle groups.
- Difficulty with Mobility: As muscle weakness progresses, individuals with muscular dystrophy may experience difficulty with walking, running, and climbing stairs.
- Muscle Atrophy: Muscles affected by muscular dystrophy may appear smaller or thinner due to muscle wasting (atrophy). In brief, this is often noticeable in the calf muscles.
- Contractures: Contractures are abnormal, fixed joint positions that can result from muscle weakness and imbalance.
- Loss of Motor Skills: Children with muscular dystrophy may experience a loss of motor skills over time, which can affect their ability to perform everyday tasks like dressing, feeding, and writing.
- Frequent Falls: Muscle weakness can lead to instability and frequent falls, especially in children with muscular dystrophy.
- Breathing Problems: Some types of muscular dystrophy can affect the muscles involved in breathing, leading to respiratory difficulties.
- Cardiac Issues: Certain types of muscular dystrophy can affect the heart muscles.
- Scoliosis: Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, is more common in some forms of muscular dystrophy, as weakened back muscles can lead to spinal deformities.
- Difficulty Swallowing: Muscles involved in swallowing can be affected in some types of muscular dystrophy, leading to swallowing difficulties.
- Cognitive Impairments: While many forms of muscular dystrophy primarily affect muscles, some, like myotonic dystrophy, can also involve cognitive impairments and emotional issues.
Types of Muscular Dystrophy
It’s important to note that there are various types of muscular dystrophy, each with its own specific genetic mutations, unique characteristics and progression. Some types primarily affect specific muscle groups, while others are more widespread. The age of onset, rate of progression, and severity can also differ between types. If you suspect that you or your child may have muscular dystrophy or are experiencing symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professionals like us for a proper diagnosis and to develop a tailored management plan. Here are some of the common types that can affect children
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD):
DMD is one of the most well-known and severe forms of muscular dystrophy. It primarily affects boys and typically becomes evident in early childhood. Children with DMD often lose the ability to walk by their early teens and may experience cardiac and respiratory complications.
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD):
BMD is similar to DMD but progresses more slowly and is typically less severe. It can also affect boys and often has a later onset, typically in adolescence or early adulthood.
Myotonic Dystrophy (DM):
Myotonic dystrophy is characterized by muscle stiffness (myotonia), weakness, and myotonic (prolonged) muscle contractions. It can affect both children and adults and may involve various systems, including the muscles, heart, and eyes.
Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD):
FSHD often presents in the teenage years, leading to muscle weakness and wasting, particularly in the face, shoulders, and upper arms. It can vary in severity.
Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD):
LGMD is a group of disorders that affect the muscles of the shoulders and hips. There are many subtypes, each with specific genetic mutations and clinical presentations. Onset can occur in childhood or later.
Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD):
CMD includes a group of disorders characterized by muscle weakness from birth or early infancy. Symptoms vary depending on the specific subtype and can involve not only the muscles but also the brain and other organs.
Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy (EDMD):
EDMD typically affects the upper arm, lower leg, and heart muscles. It can cause contractures (joint stiffness) and cardiac issues.
Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD):
OPMD primarily affects the eye muscles and throat, leading to eyelid drooping, difficulty swallowing, and general muscle weakness. It usually has an adult-onset but can affect children in rare cases.
Distal Muscular Dystrophy:
This group of muscular dystrophies primarily affects the muscles farthest from the center of the body, such as those in the hands and feet. It can have varying subtypes with different genetic causes.
Fukuyama Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (FCMD) and Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease (MEB):
These are congenital muscular dystrophies that often affect children, leading to muscle weakness and intellectual disabilities. They also involve eye and brain abnormalities.
It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the specific type of muscular dystrophy affecting a child. Regardless, doctors often order genetic testing to accurately make a diagnosis, as it can help guide treatment and management strategies. The management of this condition typically involves a multidisciplinary approach to address the various symptoms and complications associated with each type.
Treating Muscular Dystrophy
Unfortunately, a cure for muscular dystrophy does not exist, but our skilled pediatric orthopedic surgeons can partner with you and your child to achieve the ultimate level of function and health. Above all, therapy for your child’s unique case of this disease is focused on symptom management. Thus, we may recommend any of the following treatments:
- Physical therapy
- Positioning aids
- Braces and splints
- Medications for pain, inflammation, and other symptoms
- Nutritional and dietary consultation
- Treatment for scoliosis
- Surgical intervention to maintain a child’s ability to sit, stand, and move around without impediment
Why Choose Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists?
The Medical City Children’s Orthopedics Spine Specialists have offices in Arlington, Dallas, Flower Mound, Frisco, and McKinney, TX. Our highly qualified, experienced orthopedic doctors and surgeons are recognized as leaders in diagnosing and treating children for orthopedic, congenital, and sports related injuries. Furthermore, the practice is well recognized for the scope of services it offers, as well as its doctors’ medical expertise and experience.
The orthopedic surgeons at The Medical City Children’s Orthopedics Spine Specialists are board-certified, having completed rigorous training at the finest medical institutions in the country. Additionally, they specialize in all aspects of orthopedic care for children, including disorders of the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip, spine, foot, and ankle; trauma; and congenital conditions.
Finally, each patient’s treatment program is tailored to the patient’s specific needs. Also, we continue to monitor patients with ongoing reevaluations and adjustments as the recovery progresses. Whether your child plays sports, just runs around with friends like kids do, or suffers from an inherited condition, The Medical City Children’s Orthopedics Spine Specialists is here to help. Additionally, the team offers the most advanced treatment, which combines the latest in cutting-edge technology. Overall, the surgeons prioritize minimally invasive techniques. However, when necessary the surgeons will use sophisticated surgery to treat children and get them back to normal.
“We are specialists and are available to answer any questions
you may have about muscular dystrophy.” Dr. Kathryn Wiesman
Call for an appointment, 214-556-5090.