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Long Term Benefits of Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy

The Journal of Neurosurgery published research on the long term benefits of selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) in children with cerebral palsy.  The participants in the study included 102 children with spastic CP who underwent SDR between the ages of 3 and 10 years and were evaluated by a multidisciplinary team before surgery and periodically afterward. After evaluating the data the following results were seen:

  • statistically significant improvements in lower-limb muscle tone, gross motor function, and the ability to perform activities of daily living in the majority of patients.
  • the improvements lasted throughout adolescence and into early adulthood 
  • children performed better who had better preoperative gross motor function (GMFCS Groups I through III), spasticity involved only two limbs, rather than three or four and spasticity involved the adductor muscles of the hip only moderately (Ashworth score lower than 3)
  • following SDR children were less likely to need adjunct orthopedic surgeries or Botox injections to control spasticity

Reference: Dudley RWR, Parolin M, Gagnon B, Saluja R, Yap R, Montpetit K, Ruck J, Poulin C, Cantin MA, Benaroch, TE, Farmer JP. Long-term functional benefits of selective dorsal rhizotomy for spastic cerebral palsy. Clinical article. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, published online, ahead of print, May 28, 2013; DOI: 10.3171/2013.4.PEDS12539