Selective Dorsal Rhizatomy

What is Selective Dorsal Rhizatomy?

Selective dorsal rhizatomy (SDR) is an operation used with the aim of improving spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. The operation is suitable for children between the ages of three and twelve who have typical spastic diplegia. Spasticity can be very painful and will normally impair a child’s ability to learn to walk and SDR is an effective treatment for spasticity and stiffness.

SDR surgery can have a very positive impact on a patient’s ability to walk and ultimately improve leg movement as well as control, dexterity, range and speed. Physiotherapy will be needed following the operation and for at

least 6 months afterwards. This will improve any underlying weakness; develop and improve mobility; and develop smooth and co-ordinated movements.
Following SDR surgery, weakness in the lower limbs can become more apparent so rehabilitation which focuses on this will be key.

Common effects of spinal cord injury include loss of movement; loss of bowel and bladder control; exaggerated reflexes; changes in sexual function; pain in the spinal cord; difficulty breathing or coughing; and loss of sensation or paralysis.

How do you treat Selective Dorsal Rhizatomy?

At Flex Health, we will work with the child, their family and any carers to ensure that they are receiving treatment which is catered to their specific needs and goals for recovery from SDR. We will invite you to a comprehensive assessment where we will assess the areas which need rehabilitation. Your dedicated rehabilitator will regularly review your treatment plan in order to ensure that you are receiving the best treatment possible.

Our team will advise that following selective dorsal rhizatomy, patients should attend physiotherapy three times a week for a minimum of six months. We can deliver some physiotherapy sessions at home and will work closely with you to ensure that our sessions have minimal impact on your daily routine. The focus will be placed on strengthening any weaknesses in the lower body while also improving mobility.

We understand how difficult it will be for the patient and the whole family unit to recover following a selective dorsal rhizatomy. SDR is major surgery, and our team will be on hand to offer you support and advice as you recover and build your strength.


How long will I need physiotherapy for?

This depends on the patient and how much care and support they require following their surgery. Rehabilitation following surgery is a long process and so we usually recommend having physiotherapy 3 times per week over 6 months.

Where will my treatment take place?

Your treatment can take place both in your home and at our facility. On-site at Flex Health you will have access to the latest rehabilitation technology however, we are also able to bring some of that equipment to you.

What will my treatment involve?

Your treatment will involve a combination of manual therapy such as massage, and physical therapy. This could mean using some of our equipment or practising functional movements.

Do I need a referral?

At Flex Health, we will take referrals from doctors and self-referrals, so if you are interested in finding out more about how we might be able to support you then please call us on 01482 966 006.