Nerve rootlets to be sectioned for spasticity resolution in selective dorsal rhizotomy

Toru Fukuhara, Imad M. Najm, Kerry H. Levin, Mark G. Luciano, Christine L. Brant, Yücel Kanpolat, Kim J. Burchiel, Zvi Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The goal of this study is to confirm the efficacy of the protocol for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). In this protocol, rootlets to be sectioned are selected by palpable responses elicited by intraoperative electrical stimulation, without detailed electromyographic classifications. METHODS: Thirty-six children with spasticity due to cerebral palsy underwent SDR according to our protocol. Priority was given to sectioning rootlets that showed palpable clonic or bilateral responses, which were considered abnormal, over sectioning rootlets that merely had hyperactive responses to intraoperative stimulation. The results of intraoperative monitoring and sectioning amount were analyzed by physical evaluation. RESULTS: Significant improvements were obtained in passive range of motion and muscle tone of the lower extremities. The total percentages of rootlets with abnormal and hyperactive responses at L3 and S1 were bilaterally correlated with preoperative spasticity of the hip adductors and the plantar flexors, respectively. When rootlets with hyperactive responses were excluded from the correlation analysis, no bilateral correlation was observed. From the correlation analyses between the improvement in the physical evaluation and the amount of nerve sectioned, it was concluded that a greater improvement in muscle tone in all examined muscles, except the hamstrings, could be obtained if larger amounts of nerve roots were sectioned. CONCLUSION: The number of rootlets with palpable abnormal and hyperactive responses elicited by intraoperative stimulation reflects the preoperative spasticity of multiple muscles. This implies that only selecting rootlets with palpable responses can be reliable. Because more sectioning leads to better spasticity resolution, our protocol should be reviewed to increase the percentage of rootlets sectioned with hyperactive responses, especially for innervated levels of severely affected muscles. (C) 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Intraoperative monitoring
  • Muscle tone
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy
  • Spasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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