Changes in hip migration after selective dorsal rhizotomy for spastic quadriplegia in cerebral palsy

R. C. Heim, T. S. Park, G. P. Vogler, B. A. Kaufman, M. J. Noetzel, M. R. Ortman

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41 Scopus citations


Selective dorsal rhizotomy is increasingly used for management of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy but rates of hip stability following the operation have not been reported. Determining hip stability by radiographic measurement of lateral migration of the femoral head beyond a lateral edge of the acetabulum after dorsal rhizotomy allows an objective assessment of the outcome of the operation. This prospective study examined the effect of selective dorsal rhizotomy on lateral migration of the femoral head in 45 children with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The children ranged in age from 2 to 9 years (average 5 years 1 month) and were grouped according to their ages with 23 children in the 2- to 4-year-old group and 22 children in the 5- to 9-year-old group. Postoperative follow up ranged from 7 to 50 months (average 20 months). The Reimers migration percentage (MP), a measure of the lateral migration of the femoral head, was calculated from anteroposterior hip radiographs taken prior to the operation and at the last follow-up examination. Of the 90 hips involved, 9% improved, 80% remained unchanged, and 11% worsened, yielding a radiographic stability rate of 89%. The hips with postrhizotomy worsening of the MP had an average preoperative MP of 14% (range 9% to 38%) and an average postoperative increase in MP of 18% (range 11% to 37%). Of the 45 children, four subsequently underwent unilateral derotational femoral osteotomies for persistent or worsening hip subluxation. There was a significant tendency for the MP to worsen in patients with lower prerhizotomy MP values (x2 = 20.74, df = 4, p = 0.001), but the age of patients and their ambulatory status at the time of rhizotomy had no bearing on postoperative hip stability. The data indicate that selective dorsal rhizotomy prevents progressive lateral migration of the femoral head in the majority of children who undergo the operation for spastic quadriplegia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-571
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995


  • cerebral palsy
  • dorsal rhizotomy
  • hip migration
  • spastic quadriplegia


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