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Leon Walsh

Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Leon Walsh discusses a surgery for cerebral palsy – and twins who recently had this spinal surgery, which is called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR).

Meghan and Katelyn Rogers are six year-old twins who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth. They have spastic cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects motor skills, movements and muscle tone. The twins do everything together – they share clothes, play the same games and motivate each other during physical therapy and other treatments for their cerebral palsy. This week, both Meghan and Katelyn underwent a surgery to help their muscles work better. The surgery is called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). The twins are currently recovering together at Shriners Hospital in Montreal.

Meghan and Katelyn have been asking their parents a lot of questions about the SDR. Since the surgery, the children have lost a lot of function and motor skills, and they will have to re-learn basic functions such as crawling, rolling over and walking. Recovery from the surgery could take years. This is because during the surgery, the nerve branches that were abnormal were cut, leaving only the “normal” nerve branches intact and eliminating the nerve branches that had been causing the high muscle tone (spasticity).

Since the surgery, Meghan and Katelyn have been doing physical and occupational therapy, which is essential in order to obtain the maximum benefits of SDR. The twins are already up and getting around with the help of walker. They will need to stay in the hospital for about 2 more weeks. Once home, they will do physical therapy at least 3 times a week.


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition that occurs when a baby or very young child experiences brain damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of CP, and children with this condition have muscles that are constantly stiff (spastic).

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgery that selectively destroys malfunctioning nerve roots in the spinal cord. During SDR, the lower vertebrae are opened to expose the spinal cord, which contains neurons of the central nervous system. (These neurons (bundles of nerve fibers) relay messages between the brain and different areas of the body.) Electrical stimulation is used to identify and sub-divide sensory and motor nerves. This procedure continues until the specific nerves and nerve roots affecting the spastic muscles are identified and cut. Due to the size of the nerves and rootlets, this is a very precise procedure, and surgery can last many hours.

When the child’s spasticity is relieved, underlying muscle groups can start working more normally so that mobility and function improve. These muscle groups need to be retrained, and the child must engage in aggressive physical therapy.


If your baby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, or if your baby experienced a traumatic birth, birth asphyxia, HIE, a brain bleed, delayed delivery, or delayed emergency C-section, please contact our team of experienced Michigan birth injury attorneys. The Michigan medical malpractice team at Grewal Law, PLLC, is comprised of attorneys and healthcare professionals, including an on-site registered nurse, pharmacist, paramedic, and respiratory therapist. We also work with the best consultants from around the country, as well as an on-site physician. Our attorneys are licensed in Michigan and Florida, and we help victims of medical malpractice and birth trauma throughout Michigan and Florida.

If your child has received a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), seizures, motor disorders, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), hydrocephalus, intellectual disabilities, and / or developmental delays, or if your baby experienced problems during delivery or shortly before or after birth, please call us. Our medical malpractice attorneys and medical staff are available to speak with you 24/7.


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