Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure during which nerve roots in the lower spinal cord are selectively disconnected to reduce spasticity (high muscle tone) in the leg muscles in children with Cerebral Palsy. This is a one-time procedure and when it is followed by comprehensive rehabilitation, it can result in a very good functional outcome.

The SDR treatment package we provide at our centre is intensive and comprehensive. Following your child's surgery and their intensive block of treatment, you'll receive a simple but effective home programme that can be easily incorporated into their daily life.

Before Surgery:

  • You should consider the implications of long-term physiotherapy needs for your child following surgery and its impact on family life. Your child may need on-going intensive physiotherapy for one to two years following surgery for a very good functional outcome.
  • We will undertake thorough assessment of your child, to measure their muscle strength and function.
  • We will work together with you combining treatment blocks at the centre with a programme to be carried out by you at home, to ensure the best possible functional outcome

After Surgery:

  • Your child will receive therapy in hospital following surgery and will usually receive a therapy plan to follow once discharged.
  • You'll take part in ongoing intensive physiotherapy, combining treatment blocks at the centre along with a home programme, to ensure a good functional outcome.
  • Your child's therapy blocks will focus on improving trunk control and pelvic stability, strengthening leg muscles, and improving control over selective movements in the legs. This will improve their ability to stand, walk, balance and transit between positions.
  • Your Bobath therapist will liaise with your local team of therapists and staff at school to ensure an effective multi-disciplinary approach to help your child become functionally independent.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the benefits of pre-operative physiotherapy?
To strengthen the muscles that will become weak following surgery and to prepare the child and their family for the post-operative therapy programme.

Why does my child need intensive physiotherapy following SDR surgery?
As the spasticity disappears, it exposes the underlying weakness of the muscles in the legs that are essential for standing and walking. Some activities will become difficult initially as often children rely on spasticity for stability. This will improve as the muscles become stronger with intensive physiotherapy.

What does the pre-operative therapy block involve?
Baseline assessment including administration of standardised outcome measures, muscle strengthening without compromising quality of movement, elongation of tight muscles, and identification of any equipment needs.

What information do I need to provide to book sessions for pre-operative therapy block?

  • A Welcome Session to discuss with a therapist
  • Completed Parent Questionnaire
  • Copy of any recent medical report / SDR discharge summary
  • A referral from your GP or Consultant

How long will my child need regular physiotherapy following SDR surgery?
Therapy input varies depending on the needs of the child and it is usually 3-5 times per week for the first 3-6 months followed by 1-2 times per week for 12-18 months. We also offer one to two week intensive block of therapy. 

What other activities can my child engage in to supplement therapy input following the SDR surgery?
Swimming, cycling, and walking on a treadmill; however, we will recommend when it would be beneficial the child to engage in these activities.

Why come to The Bobath Centre for physiotherapy?
Bobath therapists are specialised in treating children with CEREBRAL PALSY. We understand movement, posture, and balance very well. The therapists will focus on independence and participation without compromising the quality of movement.  This is possible because of their rich clinical experience of working with children with CP across ages and levels of ability.