Muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a large group of genetic disorders which patients may inherit from their parents. Occasionally, the patient will acquire the genetic mutation during their development in the first days or weeks of conception. Dystrophies can present in a vast diversity of ways in early childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Typically, patients will have weakness of the arms and legs and sometimes facial muscles. Diagnosis is often made with a detailed neuromuscular examination, electrodiagnostic testing (EMG), muscle biopsy, or genetic testing. Some muscular dystrophies have treatments that can slow down or reverse the condition so it is important to make the diagnosis early.

Treatment options

There are several types of muscular dystrophy and just as many treatments. Even better, Spectrum Health neurologists are experts in the newest and emerging options for each type of muscular dystrophy. Your doctor will consider your age, overall health and medical history in deciding the best way to help you feel your best. Your preferences are important to us, too. Most people with muscular dystrophy live normal lives, managing symptoms with medicine, therapy or orthopedic devices. Surgery or other procedures can improve how you feel if other options aren't enough. 

Muscular dystrophy is a lifelong condition, but we can manage it together. Whether you or someone you love is dealing with this condition, get started on treatments here.

Electromyography and nerve conduction studies

Electromyography and nerve conduction studies, typically referred as an EMG, are electrical tests of muscle and nerve that neurologists and physiatrists perform on patients for a variety of conditions.

Skin biopsy

Your doctor may request a skin biopsy, which is a sample size of skin tissue is removed for testing for suspicious areas of skin that are abnormal in size, color and shape.

Muscle and nerve biopsy

A muscle biopsy is a procedure used to identify an infection or disease in your muscle.

Spinal fusion surgery

Muscular dystrophy can cause scoliosis, a curvature in the spine. Spinal fusion works to correct the curve by using bone graft to fuse vertebra together. This aims to improve posture and breathing, while decreasing back pain.

Neuro rehabilitation

Our physical therapy and rehabilitation experts don't just work on improving your physical function. We understand that neurological connections with your brain and your nerves affect your physical, cognitive and emotional health. Our holistic approach brings you greater success.

Tendon release surgery

To help relieve muscle tension caused by contractures, tendon release lengthens the tendon. Your tendon then heals in the longer length. Sometimes this procedure improves walking.

Orthopedic devices

Wearing a splint or brace can stabilize areas with muscle contractions, helping to control movement while you heal.

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