Experience and expertise

The Center for Cerebral Palsy Spasticity, led by pediatric neurosurgeon T. S. Park, MD, is a world leader in developing and refining selective dorsal rhizotomy. Physicians with the center have more than 30 years of experience performing SDR to treat cerebral palsy spasticity. They have performed more than 3,600 surgeries on children and adults from 72 countries and have published more than 40 scientific articles on rhizotomy.

Faster recovery, fewer complications

The center’s approach to minimally invasive SDR removes only one level of the spine (vs. the typical two to three levels at other centers). Removing less spinal bone typically results in fewer spine and back complications later in life. Minimally invasive spine surgeries can result in less intense pain for patients and less weakness following surgery.

Unequalled patient outcomes

Physicians in the center have continually refined SDR surgery based on patient outcomes, as well as based on the best methods to treat spasticity. Thanks to this relentless focus on improvement, the center’s patients have unparalleled outcomes. In more than 30 years of performing SDR, our patients have experienced no major neurological complications following surgery.

Team approach

Our center follows a team approach to patient care that involves the expertise of orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, nurses, dietitians, social workers, child life specialists, and physical and occupational therapists. The family is considered an important member of the team as well.

This team approach helps us provide treatment programs that promote understanding, interaction and independence for both your child and your family.

Minimally invasive controlled lengthening

After spasticity is addressed with SDR, Dr. Park collaborates with Matthew Dobbs, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgery, to relieve joint contractures, which limit joint motion.

Dr. Dobbs uses a minimally invasive procedure to lengthen the tendon, allowing the muscle to return to its normal length and the joint to straighten. The minimally invasive approach allows for a quicker recovery, with patients able to bear weight immediately and return to physical therapy sooner.

SDR for adults

Dorsal rhizotomy is also offered for adult patients on the basis of our accumulated experience with the procedure on pediatric patients. To date, we have seen satisfactory functional gains in adult patients similar to those gains in children. Adult patients who are identified as candidates for dorsal rhizotomy will have their surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, which is adjacent to St. Louis Children’s Hospital on the Washington University Medical Center campus.