Lenny's SDR surgery

Lenny was 13 months old when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Thanks to specialised surgery at The Portland, his walking is rapidly improving.
Lenny patient story SDR Portland hero.jpg

“We want Lenny to play with his friends and be independent as he gets older. The improvement we can see in just a few months is amazing.”

Lenny's mum

At 13 months old, Lenny was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a lifelong condition that affects muscle control and movement.

His parents immediately started looking into treatments to help his condition. They spoke to a surgeon in the USA about selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), a procedure that reduces lower limb spasticity (muscle stiffness). This is a common problem in children with cerebral palsy. The surgery allows greater movement in the legs, ankles and feet. But they were concerned about the potential side effects and having to fly to the USA for the procedure.

Lenny and his family met with a London-based surgeon to discuss the SDR procedure. Lenny's physiotherapist recommended they go to The Portland Hospital. They arranged to meet Mr Kristian Aquilina, a paediatric neurosurgeon at The Portland Hospital.

'We asked all the questions we could and left feeling informed and understood the procedure even more' Lenny's mum Sarah says.

A surgery date was set and Lenny's family started fundraising for his surgery. Within a few months, they'd raised enough to pay for it. As the surgery date approached Sarah started to worry. She spoke with Mr Aquilina, who explained the operation again to her and put her mind at ease.

'As parents, we were obviously worrying, but speaking to him again helped us to feel more comfortable about the surgery' she says.

While Lenny was in theatre his mum and dad waited in his hospital room, and as soon as the surgery was over Mr Aquilina let them know it'd gone well. Lenny spent a night in the paediatric intensive care unit and was then moved to the paediatric ward.

'The staff were beyond supportive, any little thing Lenny needed they were there' Sarah says. Mr Aquilina, Lenny's surgeon, is delighted with his progress. 'Lenny continues to make excellent progress. His spasticity has gone, he is getting stronger, and his walking is continually improving,' he says.

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