Effect of selective dorsal rhizotomy in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy

Jack R. Engsberg, Sandy A. Ross, David R. Collins, Sung Park Tae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Object. In this investigation the authors compared impairment and functional outcomes between two groups of children with cerebral palsy (CP): one group underwent selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) followed by intensive physical therapy (PT), and the other group underwent the latter only (PT group). Data from an age-matched group of children without disability (nondisabled [ND] group) were also collected. Methods. Data pertaining to the 68 children with CP were collected before any intervention and again 8 and 20 months afterwards. Data regarding the 40 children in the ND group were collected in a single session. Conclusions. Although patients in both groups with CP were weaker than those in the ND group, they did have strength gains. Gait speed in the SDR-PT group was slower than that in the ND group preoperatively but not at 20 months postoperatively. Gait speed in the PT group remained slower than that in the ND group. The pre- to postoperative change in the Gross Motor Abilities Estimate score was significantly greater in the SDR-PT group than in the PT-only group. An effective treatment for children with CP, SDR offers gains in strength, gait speed, and overall gross motor function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Gait
  • Gross motor function measure
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Rhizotomy
  • Spasticity
  • Strength


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