Also known as: selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, SDR surgery.
What is dorsal rhizotomy?
A dorsal rhizotomy or selective dorsal rhizotomy is a surgical procedure in which the neurosurgeon divides the dorsal roots (those nerves that transmit sensation from the muscles to the spinal cord) that lie in the spinal canal. This results in a better balance of activities of the nerve cells in the spinal cord, reducing spasticity, decreasing leg pain, improving sitting balance, and making walking easier (in selected children with cerebral palsy).
What happens during the procedure?
During the procedure, an incision is made in the lower back. The surgeon uncovers and tests nerve rootlets in the spine that come from the affected muscles (by removing parts of the vertebral bone) of the lower extremities, which are then cut. All other nerve/rootlets important for movement or sensation are preserved.
Is any special preparation needed?
Dorsal rhizotomy or selective dorsal rhizotomy are complex procedures. A number of laboratory and other tests and evaluations are involved before the procedure is performed.
What are the risk factors?
Complications are relatively uncommon but include infection, leaking of cerebrospinal fluid from the wound and/or collection of the fluid below the skin, severe leg weakness, incontinence and others.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 7/25/2018 11:20:52 AM
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Dr. John Ragheb, Director of the Division of Neurosurgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, is among a group of renowned physicians who developed the first evidence-based guideline in the U.S. on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and concussions among children, published by the CDC in September.
Dr. Aaron Berger is a pediatriac hand surgeon at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. For more information about the Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Disorders Program, please visit nicklauschildrens.org/BrachialPlexus