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
Weekly Support Programs
Participants will learn to optimize neurological potential across the developing age and care continuum, to provide other treatment modalities to optimize results, to provide options for our patients and families, to provide options for our patients and families, and more! Learn more.
From the Newsdesk
Seeing a baby boy intubated, hooked up to a maze of machines, and with IV pumps snaking out of his tiny arms is an incredibly heartbreaking and terrifying experience. The Nicklaus Children’s staff was not only caring and friendly, but knowledgeable and explained everything to us in detail. Meeting the neurosurgery team brought us great comfort because they were confident and calm—they won our trust immediately.
Learn about Individual Education Plans with Dr. Reshma Naidoo, Neuropsychologist and Neurorehabilitation Specialist at Nicklaus Children's Hosptial.