Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure which involves the cutting of parts of the nerves connected to the spine in the lower back. An incision or cut is made in the skin in the lower back and then the nerves leaving the spine are identified under the protective layers.
There are two types of nerves which leave the spine, one which sends messages to the muscles and cause muscles to contract and move and the other which sends information from the muscle to the spinal cord. The nerves sending information to the spinal cord are sensory nerves and, during the operation, they are tested to see how much electrical activity they contain. Those nerves which lead to excess muscle tone, or spasticity, are cut.
The protective layers and skin are then closed with stitches or skin glue. The procedure may take around 4 hours.
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