SDR Changed

my Life.

Now I’ve made it my mission to help others change theirs.

A young woman who had SDR. Her back is to the camera, and she has a scar on her lower back from SDR.

What is SDR?

  • SDR stands for selective dorsal rhizotomy.

  • It’s a spinal cord surgery for people who have spasticity. Spasticity is muscle tightness resulting from mixed-up messages between the brain and spinal nerves. 

  • During SDR, the surgeon divides the spinal cord’s sensory nerves into their smaller branches, called rootlets. Then the surgeon cuts the rootlets that are most overactive, getting rid of spasticity from the waist down.

  • Currently, SDR is the only treatment that can eliminate or permanently reduce spasticity.

Who can SDR help?

  • Most SDR candidates have either spastic cerebral palsy or hereditary spastic paraplegia.

  • Dr. Park in St. Louis, Missouri, has done over 5,000 SDRs on people ages 2 to 50.

  • Generally, the sooner SDR is done, the better. But adults can benefit too; I had SDR at age 23.

A young boy who had SDR. He is smiling and using blue tripod canes. His shirt says, I am the hero of my own story.
St. Louis Children's Hospital

Where do I go to get SDR?

  • Many families travel from across the United States (or across the world!) to get SDR with Dr. TS Park in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Dr. Park is considered by many to be the world expert on SDR. SDR is a very nuanced surgery, so the surgeon you choose matters a lot.

  • There are many talented SDR surgeons. But do your research carefully; again, the outcome of SDR depends largely on your surgeon’s skill level and the techniques they use

Why is SDR important?

  • SDR can reduce pain and discomfort and improve motor skills. I am so much more comfortable without spasticity, and I can move more freely than ever before! I fall less too.

  • Spasticity does progressive damage to bones, muscles, and joints. SDR can help prevent that, and it may reduce the need for additional surgeries.

  • SDR can allow muscles to be strengthened more effectively. Without spasticity, it is much easier for me to activate and isolate my muscles.