Support 4 SDR Wales has been established to provide support and advice to families who are considering or whose children have undergone SDR surgery.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy or SDR is neurosurgery carried out to remove spasticity in patients with certain types of cerebral palsy. Patients are primarily children, but adults have also undergone this surgery. Cerebral palsy is an incurable neurological condition which affects motor functions to varying degrees in patients. Children with cerebral palsy can have difficulties in controlling muscles and experience tightness (spasticity) and painful muscle spasms.
Although cerebral palsy is not progressive, the affects of spasticity on joints and muscles invariably results in painful contractures, surgery and reduced mobility later in life. Many children face a future in a wheelchair.
Currently SDR is not commissioned routinely in the UK and many families either pay privately in one of the UK hospitals or travel to St. Louis, USA to undergo treatment. As of July 2014 the NHS in England is funding 120 children as part of a Commissioning through Evaluation study (see HERE for more details), and we have been told that an additional small number (around 8) Wales-based children will be included in addition during the first year, with the expectation that further children will be funded the next year. We are awaiting finalised information from the Welsh NHS. After surgery patients are required to undertake daily therapy in order to gain the maximum benefit. As parents of children who have had this surgery we know how stressful the journey can be. We are working very hard to ensure children in Wales have access on the NHS to both the surgery and necessary aftercare through discussions with government organisations and by raising awareness in the medical community. We also aim to raise funds to help with aftercare.