Selective posterior rhizotomy and soft-tissue procedures for the treatment of cerebral diplegia

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1995 May;77(5):713-8. doi: 10.2106/00004623-199505000-00007.


The results of selective posterior rhizotomy in fifty patients (group I) and of soft-tissue procedures in fifty patients (group II), all 100 of whom had cerebral diplegia and were seen in a private office, were reviewed retrospectively. No effort was made to randomize the treatment, as the selection criteria for the two procedures are different. We evaluated the range of motion and the ability and quality of walking preoperatively and postoperatively as well as the need for additional operative intervention in the two groups. The average age of the patients in both groups was five years (range, three to twelve years in group I and one to thirteen years in group II). The average duration of follow-up in both groups was four years (range, one to six years in group I and one to seven years in group II). Thirty-two patients (64 percent) in group I and forty-one patients (82 percent) in group II were able to walk independently at the latest follow-up examination. Both groups had an over-all improvement in the ranges of abduction of the hips and dorsiflexion of the ankles, a decrease in the flexion contractures of the hips, and more normal popliteal angles; however, with the numbers available, there were no significant differences in these measurements between the two groups at the 0.05 percent confidence level. Despite the overall improvement in range of motion, thirty-one patients in the rhizotomy group subsequently had soft-tissue releases, and twenty-two patients in the soft-tissue-release group had additional operative intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Locomotion
  • Male
  • Muscle Hypertonia / surgery
  • Paralysis / surgery*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / surgery*