questions to ask your surgeon


SDR can only be done once, and some surgeons are more qualified and experienced than others, so be sure to do your research. Here are some questions to start with, particularly if you’re considering a surgeon other than Dr. Park in St. Louis:


  1. How many SDRs have you done? What severity of CP do most of your SDR patients have?

  2. How old are most of your SDR patients at the time of their SDR? (If you’re an adult considering SDR, be sure to ask how many of the patients were adults at the time of their SDR. Remember also that SDR at 40 is usually harder than SDR at 20, so it’s also a good idea to ask how many adult patients were in your specific age range.)

  3. What is your complication rate for SDR? Have any of your patients experienced paralysis, incontinence, a return of their spasticity, or permanent nerve pain? If so, how many?

  4. Do you aim to eliminate spasticity completely or do you leave some behind on purpose?

  5. What percentage of nerve rootlets do you typically cut?

  6. Do you do single-level or multi-level SDR? (Some surgeons do multi-level SDR, which is much more invasive than single-level, because several vertebrae pieces are removed from the spine instead of just one. This method has a higher rate of complications, including chronic back pain and spinal deformities, and the recovery time is longer.)

  7. Do you use EMG testing to test the nerves before cutting them?

  8. How do you control pain after SDR? Do you use an epidural? What is the hospital stay like?

  9. What is your rehab protocol? Do you require inpatient rehab after SDR? (Some centers require or recommend inpatient rehab after SDR. St. Louis does not.)

  10. What are your predictions for me/my child after SDR?
A little boy standing with his walker before he had SDR. He is wearing a blue and white shirt that says: I will move mountains. He is smiling.