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Neurosurg Focus. 2013 Nov;35(5):E6. doi: 10.3171/2013.8.FOCUS13294.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy for spasticity not associated with cerebral palsy: reconsideration of surgical inclusion criteria.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Norton Neuroscience Institute and Kosair Children's Hospital; and.


Children with spastic diplegia from cerebral palsy (CP) experience measurable improvement in their spasticity and motor function following selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). The role of this operation in the treatment of other spasticity causes is less well defined. A literature review was undertaken to survey outcomes from SDRs performed outside the CP population. Multiple sclerosis was the most common diagnosis found, accounting for 74 of 145 patients described. Selective dorsal rhizotomies have also been reported in patients with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, neurodegenerative disease, hypoxic encephalopathy, and other causes of spasticity. Outcomes from surgery are generally described as favorable, although postoperative assessments and follow-up times are not standardized across reports. Long-term outcomes are sparsely reported. Larger numbers of patients and more detailed outcomes data have the potential to form a basis for expanding the inclusion criteria for SDR.

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