Long-term outcome and adverse effects of selective dorsal rhizotomy in children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2011 Jun;53(6):490-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2011.03912.x. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Aim: To assess the long-term outcome and adverse events of selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) in children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP).

Method: Studies were selected based on the following inclusion criteria: children with CP that underwent SDR with a follow-up period of at least 5 years. The following databases were searched: MEDLINE, Web of Science, Embase, PEDro, and the Cochrane library. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were scored by two reviewers, who graded the level of evidence and the quality/conduct of the studies. Outcomes were classified according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Results: Only three of the 21 studies who met the inclusion criteria allowed a tentative conclusion on outcome. There is moderate evidence that SDR has a positive long-term influence on the ICF body structure and body function domains but there is no evidence that SDR has an influence on the ICF activity and participation domains. Spinal abnormalities seem to be common, but no conclusion can be drawn about their relation to SDR.

Interpretation: There is lack of evidence concerning the long-term outcomes after SDR. Future studies need to clarify the long-term influence of SDR - especially in the ICF domains of activity and participation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / surgery*
  • Child
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Rhizotomy / adverse effects*
  • Rhizotomy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome