Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)

In this blog post I’m going to explain a little bit about Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy Surgery, or SDR as its also known as.

Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure that may help children suffering from certain types of cerebral palsy and particularly those who have problems with leg movement.

Cerebral palsy arises from a brain injury sustained by a child, Wilsons cause of cerebral palsy is  premature birth and oxygen deprivation, he had to be ventilated very shortly after birth. Certain parts of the foetal brain was damaged, particularly the parts which control leg movement and co-ordination. This has lead to stiffness in his muscles.

It effects the muscles in both the arms and legs for him, although he is doing so well with his arm and hand movements and has exceeded everyones expectations in what he is able to do!

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) states in its Guidelines that:
“Lower limb spasticity affects 80% of people with cerebral palsy. This can impair walking and sitting, and can cause discomfort, cramps and spasms”

The NICE Guidelines explain that:
“The aim of selective dorsal rhizotomy is to ease muscle spasticity and improve mobility in people with cerebral palsy. It involves cutting nerves in the lower spine that are responsible for muscle rigidity”.

If the procedure succeeds it will reduce lower limb spasticity, reduce the number of subsequent orthopaedic procedures, improve gross motor function, improve gait and walking and improve the Wilson’s level of independence and his quality of life.

It is important to realise that SDR is not a cure for cerebral palsy, but if the procedure succeeds it may help his physical state by reducing muscular stiffness and improving a his mobility.

SDR is carried out while the child is under a general anaesthetic and the procedure takes around four to five hours.

Physiotherapy will be needed following surgery to obtain the best results. At first, this takes place in hospital and then at home, with mummy, daddy and Ava helping and participating!

We have been doing ALOT of research since Wilsons diagnosis and we feel that SDR surgery would benefit him immensely. I have joined different groups on social media sites for SDR surgery and found that DR. Park at St. Louis hospital in America is said to be the best at performing this surgery and has successfully improved the lives of thousands of children. We have sent an email and are awaiting a reply to see what information is needed to see if Wilson would be a good candidate. From what I have heard, he asks for an MRI scan of the brain (doesn’t have to be recent) hip and spine x-rays performed within the last 6 months and videos of the child doing/trying to do certain tasks.

We really hope Wilson will be suitable for this as obviously we just want the best life possible for him! If he is then we will need to start doing loads of fundraising in preparation for the surgery and after-care of intense physio.

Fingers crossed and we will keep everyone updated!!

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