Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)

Patients with Cerebral Palsy commonly experience muscle spasticity which can cause shortening of muscles and tendons, joint contractures, bone deformities and pain.

During the SDR procedure, a neuro-surgeon selectively cuts the nerve roots in the spinal cord, with the aims of reducing spasticity, thus decreasing discomfort, while increasing independence and function. When the spasticity is reduced, the underlying muscle weakness is often revealed, however, it can be easier to increase strength through therapy and exercise.

Aquatic therapy can also be beneficial in the rehabilitation of children that have undergone SDR. We have used it pre-operatively to strengthen trunk and leg muscles and to improve surgical outcomes and recovery. Post-operatively we have used the pool to strengthen the weakened muscles and improve the walking pattern.

We have worked with many children after SDR surgery and have been involved in discharge planning and early rehabilitation at home. We have also worked with children long term through their journey and have collaborated with the international and regional centres, as well as the local NHS teams, to ensure they reach their potential.