Selective dorsal rhizotomy for hereditary spastic paraparesis in children

Childs Nerv Syst. 2016 Aug;32(8):1489-94. doi: 10.1007/s00381-016-3122-2. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the outcomes for children who underwent selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) for the treatment of spasticity related to spinal pathology.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all cases of SDR at our institution over the last 30 years and identified patients in whom spasticity was attributed to spinal rather than cerebral pathology. We gathered demographic information and recorded functional status and spasticity scores pre-operatively and over long-term follow-up.

Results: We identified four patients who underwent SDR for spinal-related spasticity. All four had hereditary spastic paraparesis (HSP). All patients had reduced spasticity in the lower limbs after SDR, which was maintained over long-term follow-up. Two patients had a more severe and progressive subtype of HSP, and both these patients exhibited functional decline despite improvement in tone.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest SDR is a reasonable option to consider for relief of spinal-related spasticity in uncomplicated hereditary spastic paraparesis. However, SDR for the treatment of complicated HSP seems to carry more risks and have a less predictable outcome. Overall, SDR is probably best reserved for pathologies that are relatively stable in their disease course.

Keywords: Hereditary; SDR; Spasticity; Spine.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhizotomy / methods*
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary / surgery*
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / surgery*