Types of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is described based on the parts of the body it affects and the way it affects movement.

By Body Part

Quadriplegia

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This type affects all four limbs — both arms and both legs. A person’s torso, facial, and oral muscles are often affected, too.

Triplegia

This type affects three limbs — one arm and both legs. A person’s torso, facial, and oral muscles may be affected, too.

 

Diplegia

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This type affects both legs. A person’s arms may be affected to a lesser extent.

Hemiplegia

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This type affects one side of the body. People can either have right-side hemiplegia (affecting their right arm and leg), or left-side hemiplegia (affecting their left arm and leg). Approximately 40% of people with cerebral palsy have hemiplegia.

 

Monoplegia

This type affects only one limb.

 

By Brain Injury Location

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

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  • Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form, affecting up to 80% of people with CP.
  • This type causes muscles appear stiff and tight.
  • This the result of damage to the motor cortex.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

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  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy — also known as athetoid cerebral palsy — occurs in 6% of people with CP.
  • This type is characterized by involuntary movements.
  • This the result of damage to the basal ganglia.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

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  • Ataxic cerebral palsy occurs in 6% of people with CP.
  • This type is characterized by shaky movements and affects a person’s balance and sense of positioning in space.
  • This the result of damage to the cerebellum.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

  • Mixed cerebral palsy means that someone’s brain is injured in more than one location and they will experience symptoms from multiple types of CP.mixed-cp-icon