Introduction: Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is an effective treatment for reducing spasticity and improving gait in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Data concerning muscle activity changes after SDR treatment are limited. Patients and Methods: In 30 children who underwent SDR a gait analysis was performed before and 12-24 months postoperatively. Subjects walked on a 10-m walkway at comfortable walking speed. Biplanar video was registered and surface EMG was recorded. Sagittal knee angles were measured from video and observational gait assessments were performed using the Edinburgh gait assessment scale (EGAS). Results: The EGAS significantly improved after SDR (p<0.001). There were significant improvements of the knee angle kinematics (p<0.001). Only slight changes in EMG activity were observed. The activity of the m. gastrocnemius (GM) decreased and a late peak appeared in stance, the activity of the m. semitendinosus (ST) increased in stance. The activity of the m. rectus femoris (RF) decreased in swing. Conclusion: SDR improved overall gait performance but EMG changes were only slight. Better timing of the GM in stance and reduced activity of RF in swing may have increased knee flexion in swing. Reduced hamstrings spasticity may have led to postural instability in the hip. © 2010 Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.