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Other names: Hemiplegia, tetraplegia

Quadriplegia is the inability to move one's arms and legs due to a spinal cord injury, most often in the neck. The spinal cord injury may be the result of an accident--a fall or motor vehicle accident, for instance--or other physical trauma.

Immediate treatment involves immobilizing the spine and head to prevent further damage. Quadriplegia is diagnosed by physical and neurological examinations as well as an analysis of symptoms. Diagnostic tests such as X-rays and myelography are performed to examine the spinal cord for any blockage or bone fractures.

Treatment includes medications to prevent fluid from building up in the spine. Surgery is usually performed to remove bone fragments and to stabilize sections of bone that surround the spine. In most cases, counseling is necessary to help the person cope with grief, depression and the sudden loss of independence.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)