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The differences between tetraplegia, quadriplegia and paraplegia

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Serious Injuries |

Spinal cord injuries can cause a variety of different medical challenges. Both the severity of the injury and its placement on the spine can influence what medical consequences an individual experiences.

Incomplete spinal cord injuries may cause motor function challenges without eliminating someone’s ability to walk or feel their lower extremities. Complete injuries lead to a total and permanent cessation of motor control and sensation. People sometimes refer to that loss of sensation and function as paraplegia, tetraplegia or quadriplegia.

What are the differences between these different types of paralysis?

Paraplegia involves lower spinal cord injuries

Those familiar with Greek prefixes may already have an idea about what separates paraplegia, tetraplegia and quadriplegia. Those prefixes indicate numbers, and paraplegia refers to two. Someone with paraplegia has lost motor control and sensation in two of their limbs, specifically their legs. An individual with paraplegia cannot walk and typically lacks sensation in their lower body. Cases of paraplegia range in severity depending on the location of the injury and whether it affects the digestive tract, core muscles and sexual function.

Tetraplegia and quadriplegia are the same condition

Some people refer to the paralysis that results from a higher spinal cord injury as quadriplegia. What is the prefix that means four, and the point is to indicate that the injury affects all four of someone’s limbs. However, medical professionals have begun using the term tetraplegia instead of quadriplegia in most cases. Those with quadriplegia or tetraplegia typically have more functional limitations and require more expensive medical interventions.

Those dealing with the consequences of a spinal cord injury may need to look at their different options for seeking compensation. Insurance is often insufficient, even if a crash that inspired the harm in question was caused by a commercial vehicle with a six-figure policy. Personal injury lawsuits are often the only way to recover an appropriate amount of compensation given the extensive costs associated with spinal cord injuries.

Understanding the language used for spinal cord injuries and the impact that different conditions have on someone’s finances can be beneficial for those who may need to seek compensation via a personal injury lawsuit. Complete spinal cord injuries can be some of the most expensive medical issues people ever experience.