Primary Publication
Kainz H, Hoang H, Pitto L, Wesseling M, Van Rossom S, Van Campenhout A, Molenaers G, De Groote F, Desloovere K, Jonkers I. Selective dorsal rhizotomy improves muscle forces during walking in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Clinical Biomechanics 65 (2019) 26-33. (2019)  View

Background Selective dorsal rhizotomy aims to reduce spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. Early investigations indicated postoperative weakness, whereas more recent studies showed that selective dorsal rhizotomy either does not change or improves muscle strength. All previous studies assessed muscle strength in a static position, which did not represent the walking situation. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of selective dorsal rhizotomy on muscle forces during gait. Methods Motion capture data of 25 children with spastic cerebral palsy and 10 typically developing participants were collected. A musculoskeletal OpenSim model was used to calculate joint kinematics, joint kinetics and muscle forces during gait. Static optimization and an electromyography-informed approach to calculate muscle forces were compared. A Muscle-Force-Profile was introduced and used to compare the muscle forces during walking before and after a selective dorsal rhizotomy. Findings Independent of the approach used (electromyography-informed versus static optimization), selective dorsal rhizotomy significantly normalized forces in spastic muscles during walking and did not reduce the contribution of non-spastic muscles. Interpretation This study showed that selective dorsal rhizotomy improves dynamic muscle forces in children with cerebral palsy and leads to less gait pathology, as shown in the improvement in joint kinematics and joint kinetics. Individual muscle force analyses using the Muscle-Force-Profile extend standard joint kinematics and joint moment analyses, which might improve clinical-decision making in children with cerebral palsy in the future. The reference data of our participants and MATLAB code for the Muscle-Force-Profile are publicly available on