Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy Program at Nationwide Children's

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Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy: Bhoomi's Story

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Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy Program at Nationwide Children's

The Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is offered to patients from around the country experiencing spasticity – a condition that causes stiff, tight muscles that can’t be controlled because of a problem with the signals the brain sends (or doesn’t send) to the nerves. Most people who are good candidates for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery have spastic cerebral palsy (CP). In nearly everyone who undergoes the operation, Selective dorsal rhizotomy improves mobility, reduces pain, and relieves lower-limb muscle spasticity.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy is offered by only a handful of pediatric hospitals. It is considered a safe and effective operation, but few surgeons are trained in the technique. Nationwide Children’s Neurosurgery Chief Jeffrey Leonard, MD, has decades of experience performing this complicated procedure.


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Experience, quality, and compassion

Nationwide Children’s is one of the few hospitals in the country offering this specialized operation for children with spastic CP. For such rare procedures, surgical expertise is essential. Our chief of neurosurgery, Dr. Jeffrey Leonard, has created a comprehensive program since coming here from Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Dr. Leonard is also the neurosurgical leader for the Spasticity Network.

At Nationwide Children’s, our surgeons take a targeted approach to SDR. Instead of performing the operation the way it was done in the past, which involved taking out a portion of the bone from up to seven vertebrae, our surgeons achieve the same results by operating on just one vertebra. This approach may result in:

  • less pain and muscle weakness after the surgery
  • greater hip mobility
  • earlier return to physical therapy
  • lower risk for eventual spinal deformity
Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Jeffrey R. Leonard

Jeffrey R. Leonard, MD is the Chief of Neurosurgery and the Surgical Director of the Neuro-Oncology Program. 

Selective dorsal rhitzomy is considered a safe and effective operation and is only offered at a handful of pediatric hospitals, including Nationwide Children’s. Here are some frequently asked questions about selective dorsal rhizotomy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy

Frequently asked questions about selective dorsal rhizotomy.

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Nathan R
Patient Story

Meet Nathan

Nathan who was born 5 weeks early, along with his twin sister, via emergency c-section was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy just after his first birthday. As his sister met every milestone, Nathan was falling farther and farther behind.