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Types of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is actually a broad term for neurological impairment that creates mobility difficulties.  Just as broad are the variety of possible symptoms and effects experienced by each individual.

4 Main Categories of Cerebral Palsy

Yet, Cerebral Palsy can be broken into four main types:  “spastic”, “athetoid”, “ataxic” and “mixed”.  Medical professionals identify the type of Cerebral Palsy according to the primary type of movement disorder present.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy involves tight, contracted muscles, particularly in the back, arms or legs.  This type makes movement stiff and awkward, often causing the legs to turn in or scissor as a child tries to walk.  It can also lead to limb or joint deformities due to the stress on the body and the persistent contracture of muscles.  Spastic Cerebral Palsy occurs in approximately 50 to 75 percent of all Cerebral Palsy cases.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy can also be called “dyskinetic” Cerebral Palsy, which affects the entire body’s ability to move.  This disorder manifests in low muscle tone, creating uncontrolled movement that makes it hard to sit up straight or walk.  It can also affect the facial muscles, making it difficult to feed properly.  Excessive drooling, grimacing or speech impairments can also be present.  Athetoid Cerebral Palsy is found in 10 to 20 percent of all cases.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy includes symptoms of poor depth perception, coordination and balance.  This type also creates difficulty in fine motor skills, like writing or typing.  It also may cause posture problems and the use of a wide, irregular gait while walking.  Ataxic Cerebral Palsy affects approximately 5 to 10 percent of all cases.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy is some combination of  the prior types, including both tight and loose muscle tone which creates stiffness in some muscles and involuntary movement in others.

Subtypes Within Cerebral Palsy Categories

There are also sub-types within each main type, depending on which part of the body is affected by Cerebral Palsy.  Pentaplegia affects both the arms and legs, as well as the torso and facial muscles, while quadriplegia only includes the arms and legs.  Hemiplegia affects the arm and leg on one side of the body, diplegia affects only the legs and monoplegia is involved with only one limb.

Though there are many causes of cerebral palsy unrelated to medical malpractice, medical negligence prior to or during birth is a significant cause.  If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, it is important to rule out medical negligence.  An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in that process.

Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached in Albuquerque at (505) 242-5958