Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr




Selective posterior rhizotomy (SPR) is a surgical technique that attempts to reduce spasticity by severing sensory nerve roots that fire abnormally. Controversy arises when the procedure is used as an alternative management for spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. The literature cites mixed opinions regarding patient selection, treatment protocols, assessments, and outcomes. A random selection of 500 pediatric physical therapists belonging to the American Physical Therapy Association were surveyed. Responses were received from 237 therapists for a response rate of 47.7%. The results of the survey show that the majority of the therapists worked in nontraditional facilities (defined as school systems, private practices, home health, and other facilities along that line), were female, with a mean age of 43 years, and had pediatric experience ranging from 1 to 40 years. Significant discrepancies were found in the test and measurements that were being used to record progress, as well as complications that were actually experienced. The results of this survey should provide information to other pediatric physical therapists about SPR and about the pros and cons surrounding this procedure.