SDR and Spasticity Management Parent Information Day
March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and last week LOC clinicians Sam and David kicked off the start of it by attending the Parent Information Day for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) Surgery and Spasticity Management, held at Bristol Zoo Pavillion. The day was organised by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, and was a reassuring hub of orthotists, neurologists, physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons for parents of children undergoing or contemplating SDR surgery to direct their questions at.
SDR is a surgical treatment to improve muscle spasticity (stiffness) caused by abnormal communication between the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles throughout the body and is used widely to treat Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy refers to a group of disorders which affect the part of the brain which controls leg movement and coordination and can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or after birth. In turn this leads to muscle stiffness in the leg muscles and can impair a person’s ability to walk. Spasticity diplegia specifically – which affects the legs more than arms – is the most common form of cerebral palsy, affecting 20 – 30% of children born with the condition (Scope).
Spasticity, whilst hindering a person’s ability to walk, also causes pain and shortening of the muscles.
First developed in 1898, SDR surgery is a neurological procedure which aims to reduce long-term spasticity, improve function and mobility and increase a person’s range of motion. Most of the evidence for this procedure relates to children between the ages of 4 and 10 years old. This SDR is not an option for all Cerebral Palsy patients, and there are caveats involving age and complications like hip dislocation, or the presence of progressive neuro-degenerative conditions.
At LOC we know from experience that SDR surgery offers cerebral palsy patients a fantastic opportunity on the road to a more independent, better quality of life and the first step in a long road of treatment. The results can be dramatic, however we cannot overstate the importance of continued rehabilitation post-SDR, without which, patients may not enjoy the maximum results offered by surgery and can even threaten to lose initial improvements post operatively.
Orthotics are crucial to help aid this rehabilitation process, helping the body’s alignment as well as gait training. Our Ankle Foot Orthoses control the position and movement of the foot and ankle and can help to normalise walking patterns, while immobilising the joint to maintain range, in turn reducing pain and discomfort.
We also see excellent results when combined with Dynamic Lycra Garments, which have been used for more than 10 years to progress core stability and address postural problems.
Our work with internationally renowned physiotherapist Elaine Owen MBE has also awarded us the opportunity to advance our own skill set and treatment. That combined with our Gait Lab Technology means that we have more experience in treating post SDR patients than any other orthotic clinic in the UK. One of our more recent, success stories began with cerebral palsy patient Jude, an avid football fan, who underwent SDR surgery in the hope of one day kicking a football himself. A year later and he is doing just that, thanks to a combination of his parents’ support, SDR surgery and LOC’s orthotic care.
If you would like any more information regarding our post-SDR rehabilitation programme, or would like to find out more about how we help our cerebral palsy patients, feel free to give us a call on 020 8974 9989 or book a consultation with one of our clinicians.