What is Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy

Spastic diplegia is a type of cerebral palsy in which the arms and legs are abnormally stiff. ‘Spastic diplegia’ is a combination of two words-‘spastic’ meaning stiff or contracted and ‘diplegia’ can be further broken down into two words-‘di’ meaning two and ‘plegia’ is a Latin word which signifies weakness. This is also famous by the name of paraplegia.


Sometimes the spastic diplegia form is hereditary. As such the person does not show the symptoms until late childhood or even the middle age. In case the person is suffering from cerebral palsy form of spastic diplegia, which is diagnosed in the childhood itself. This is caused due to the damage to the brain and it mainly affects the legs. Brain damage is due to the lack of oxygen while the brain formation which results into the development failure in the pyramidal tracts.


Spastic diplegia is also famous by the name of “Little’s Disease”. It has been named after a British surgeon, William Little. It was found it that this is basically a disorder or a group of disorders and its name changed from spastic diplegia to static encephalopathy. In this, both the legs of the person are stiff or contracted. This contributes to the weakness of the legs, making walking difficult. In fact the tightening of the muscles in the hips and legs take place. The condition even gets worse since the legs want to turn inwards and can even cross over the knees. There is lesser impact over the arms, face and the neck muscles of the victim as compared to the legs. Even the mental retardation of the patient takes place.

This problem affects nearly 80% of the people with cerebral palsy around the world. Due to the problem of muscle stiffness, the longitudinal growth of the muscle becomes restricted. As such this leads to orthopedic deformities and muscle contractures, which means the locking of muscles into place permanently.

For the treatment a combination of drugs, physical therapy, braces as well as orthopedic surgery might be required. A new type of surgery called selected dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). This surgery is quite effective on the kids in the age group of 2 to 4. However, older children as well as adults can also benefit from this kind of surgery. In this surgery, the deformities are prevented by cutting nerve fibers in the spinal cord. But on the other hand, removing the vertebrae to reach the spinal cord can create a number of spinal problems. If the SDR surgery is successful, it helps in improving the speech, vision and leg function significantly.

This surgery can also cut a number of orthopedic surgeries which the victim might need in the future. Thus you can get a lot of help and information if you consult your doctor. You can also seek a lot of help from online sources and rest your doubts. So help your child and support him to come out of this problem and enjoy the life to the maximum.

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