Introduction: Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) consists of microsurgical partial deafferentation of sensory nerve roots (L1-S2). It is primarily used today in decreasing spasticity in young cerebral palsy (CP) patients. Intraoperative monitoring (IOM) is an essential part of the surgical decision-making process, aimed at improving functional results. The role played by SDR-IOM is examined, while realizing that connections between complex EMG responses to nerve-root stimulation and a patient's individual motor ability remain to be clarified.
Methods: We conducted this retrospective study, analyzing EMG responses in 146 patients evoked by dorsal-root and rootlet stimulation, applying an objective response-classification system, and investigating the prevalence and distribution of the assessed grades. Part1 describes the clinical setting and SDR procedure, reintroduced in Germany by the senior author in 2007.
Results: Stimulation-evoked EMG response patterns revealed significant differences along the segmental levels. More specifically, a comparison of grade 3+4 prevalence showed that higher-graded rootlets were more noticeable at lower nerve root levels (L5, S1), resulting in a typical rostro-caudal anatomical distribution.
Conclusions: In view of its prophylactic potential, SDR should be carried out at an early stage in all CP patients suffering from severe spasticity. It is particularly effective when used as an integral part of a coordinated, comprehensive spasticity program in which a team of experts pool their information. The IOM findings pertaining to the anatomical grouping of grades could be of potential importance in adjusting the SDR-IOM intervention to suit the specific individual constellation, pending further validation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03079362.