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J Neurosurg. 2005 May;102(4 Suppl):363-73.

Spinal deformities after selective dorsal rhizotomy for spastic cerebral palsy.

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Departments of Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery, British Columbia's Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Spinal deformities are significant problems in children with spastic cerebral palsy. The treatment of their spasticity by selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) may worsen or improve these problems. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of and change in degree of thoracolumbar scoliosis, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis in children who have undergone SDR.


A retrospective review was conducted of children younger than 18 years of age, who had undergone SDR at British Columbia's Children's Hospital from 1987 to 2001 and in whom preoperative and postoperative spine radiographs have been obtained. Angles for thoracolumbar scoliosis, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis were measured. The study group comprised 105 patients. The mean age at surgery was 5.2 years (range 2.7-14.6 years), with a mean time to most recent follow-up radiographs of 4.3 years (1-13.6 years). Sixty-two children had spastic diplegia (59%), 34 spastic quadriplegia (32%), and nine quadriplegia and intellectual delay (9%). A total of 104 children underwent laminoplasty with replacement of the laminae, usually from L-1 to S-1 and 54.8% of children had scoliosis at last follow up, with 25% having worsening of 10 degrees or more. The incidence of abnormal kyphosis at the last follow-up visit was 38.6%, with 31.8% having worsening of 15 degrees or more. The incidence of hyperlordosis at last follow up was 21.3%, with 36% having worsening of 15 degrees or more. The factors in this series impacting development of spinal deformities have been analyzed and are discussed.


The relatively high incidence of spinal deformity in children who have undergone SDR via multi-level lumbosacral laminoplasties should raise some concern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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