Name = Paraplegia
MeshID = D010264
Paraplegia is an impairment in motor and/or sensory function of the lower extremities. It is usually the result of
spinal cord injuryor a congenitalcondition such as spina bifidawhich affects the neural elements of the spinal canal. The area of the spinal canal which is affected in paraplegia is either the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions. If the arms are also affected by paralysis, tetraplegiais the proper terminology.
The causes range from trauma (acute spinal cord injury: transsection or compression of the cord, usually by bone fragments from vertebral fractures) to tumors (chronic compression of the cord), myelitis transversa and multiple sclerosis.
Peripheral nervous system
Rarer is the type which is caused by damage to the
nerves supplying the legs. This form of damage is not usually symmetrical and would not cause paraplegia, but polyneuropathymay cause paraplegia if motor fibers are affected. While in theory the arms should also be affected, the fibers that supply the legs are longer and hence more vulnerable to damage. Larry Flynt, noted pornographymagnate, sustained this form of nerve damage when he was shot in a murderattempt in 1978, rendering him paraplegic.
Due to decreased movement and loss of the ability to run, paraplegia may cause numerous medical complications, many of which can be prevented with vigilant self care. These include
pressure sores (decubitus), thrombosisand pneumonia. Physiotherapyand also various assistive technology, such as a standing frame, may aid in preventing these complications.
Cauda equina syndrome
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