Surgical treatment of spasticity by selective posterior rhizotomy: 30 years experience

Khalil Salame, Georges E.R. Ouaknine, Semion Rochkind, Shlomo Constantini, Nissim Razon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Spasticity is a common neurologic disorder with adverse effects on the patient's function. Conservative management is unsuccessful in a significant proportion of patients and neurosurgical intervention should be considered. The mainstay of surgical treatment of spasticity is selective posterior rhizotomy, i.e., section of sensory nerve roots of the cauda equina. Objective: To report our experience with selective posterior rhizotomy in the treatment of spasticity. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our experience in 154 patients who underwent SPR during 30 years. The indication for surgery was spasticity that significantly hindered the patient's function or care and was resistant to conservative treatment. All patients were evaluated for spasticity in the lower and upper limbs, the presence or absence of painful spasms, and sphincter disturbances. The decision as to which roots to be sectioned, and to what extent, was based mainly on clinical muscle testing. Results: Reduction of spasticity in the lower limbs was obtained in every case, with improvement in movements in 86% of cases. Painful spasms were alleviated in 80% of cases. Amelioration of neurogenic bladder was observed in 42%. A minority of the patients also showed improvement in speech and cognitive performance. There was no perioperative mortality or major complications. Conclusion: SPR is a safe and effective method for the treatment of spasticity with long-lasting beneficial effects. We suggest that this method be considered more frequently for patients with spasticity that interferes with their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-546
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2003


  • Rhizotomy
  • Spasticity
  • Surgical treament


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