Thomas Jefferson University

Spasticity Fellowship

The Spasticity Fellowship is a one year program designed to develop expert clinical skills in the diagnosis and treatment of spasticity and its complications. The fellow will be trained to manage spasticity through various interventions including oral pharmacotherapy, chemodenervation with neurotoxins, phenol or alcohol nerve blocks, intrathecal Baclofen pumps, bracing, splinting, and therapeutic modalities. The fellow will be expected to participate in at least one scholarly activity during the year and will also participate in the education of PM&R residents on topics related to spasticity.

The goals of the fellowship program are to develop a strong foundational knowledge of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of spasticity and related sequelae. At the completion of the fellowship it is expected that the fellow will be competent in the assessment of spasticity and related functional impairments, defining reasonable treatment goals with patients and setting appropriate expectations, communicating goals and treatment with patients, caregivers, and other members of the rehabilitation team. It is expected that the fellow will develop competence in the procedural skills related to advanced spasticity management including chemodenervation, chemoneurolysis, diagnostic selective motor nerve blocks, and intrathecal pump management. It is expected that the fellow will contribute meaningfully to a scholarly project in the area of spasticity.

Objectives to be demonstrated by graduating fellows include:

  • Knowledge of the pathophysiology of spasticity and the upper motor neuron syndrome
  • Recognition of signs of the upper motor neuron syndrome other than spasticity
  • Obtaining clinical history and medical information specific to spasticity
  • Knowledge of clinical presentation of various spastic postures and muscles involved
  • Clinical assessment of the impact of spasticity on function and quality of life
  • Recognition and management of potential noxious stimuli that can exacerbate spasticity
  • Performance of Ashworth or modified Ashworth scale
  • Performance of Tardieu assessment method
  • Goniometric measurement of spastic limbs
  • Ordering of appropriate diagnostic tests
  • Understanding of the role of gait and motor control analysis in the management of the spastic patient
  • Appropriate treatment goal setting
  • Prescription of oral spasmolytics to appropriate patients
  • Performance of botulinum toxin chemodenervation including toxin preparation
  • Performance of phenol or alcohol neurolysis
  • Performance of diagnostic nerve block using local anesthetics
  • Use of EMG amplifier and stimulator guidance for injections
  • Use of ultrasound for injection guidance
  • Troubleshooting suboptimal outcomes of botulinum toxin chemodenervation or neurolysis
  • Management of adverse effects relative to botulinum toxin injections or neurolysis
  • Identification of appropriate candidates for intrathecal baclofen therapy
  • Execution of lumbar puncture for intrathecal baclofen trialing
  • Observation of continuous intrathecal catheter trialing
  • Observation of intrathecal delivery system implantation
  • Performing intrathecal baclofen pump refills, including fluoroscopic and ultrasound guidance
  • Performing intrathecal baclofen reprogramming including complex programming, and bridge / priming bolus delivery
  • Performing of side port aspiration of intrathecal delivery systems
  • Interpretation of CT myelogram and nuclear medicine cisternogram studies
  • Troubleshooting intrathecal baclofen therapy-related problems
  • Management of intrathecal baclofen overdose and withdrawal syndromes
  • Identification of appropriate candidates for tendon lengthening
  • Identification of appropriate candidates for functional neurotomy
  • Identification of appropriate candidates for dorsal rhizotomy

Learning will occur within the context of an intended focus on the six core competencies of medicine: medical knowledge, patient care, professionalism, systems based practice, interpersonal and communication skills, practice based learning.

Application Information

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will be received beginning May 1, 2020.  To receive the application documents please contact:

Patricia A.  Williams
Education Coordinator
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
215-955-6585  | 215-955-2311 fax

Open to candidates who have completed an ACGME accredited residency program and are board certified or eligible and qualified for medical licensure in the state of Pennsylvania. Candidates must have a strong interest in neurorehabilitation and learning the comprehensive assessment and management of spasticity while furthering their skills.

Your training will take place at one or more of the following locations:

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH)

  • Spasticity Clinic, Navy Yard - Philadelphia, PA
  • Transitions Clinic, Navy Yard - Philadelphia, PA
  • Outpatient PM&R Clinic - 25 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA
  • Neurosurgical Outpatient Clinic - Philadelphia, PA
  •  Neurosurgical Inpatient, Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience (JHN) - Philadelphia, PA

Center for Tone Management - Paoli, PA

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children - Wilmington, DE

Penn Musculoskeletal Center University City -  Philadelphia, PA 

Moss Rehab

  • Elkins Park, PA
  • Tabor Road, Philadelphia, PA
  • King of Prussia, PA

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital - Philadelphia, PA

Kimberly Heckert, MD

Fellowship Director

Program Faculty:

Jessica Mulhern, DO

Hometown: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

Undergraduate: University of Delaware

Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine


Dr. Kimberly Heckert

Kimberly Heckert, MD
Fellowship Director

Patricia Williams

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Patricia Williams
Education Coordinator
25 S. Ninth Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107
(215) 955-6585

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