The key difference between diplegia and paraplegia is that diplegia is a condition that affects motor neurons of both upper and lower parts of the body, while paraplegia is a condition that affects only the motor neurons of the lower half of the body.
Motor neuron diseases are conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. This eventually causes paralysis. There are different causes of paralysis, including diplegia, paraplegia, monoplegia, quadriplegia, and hemiplegia. Diplegia is the paralysis of both the upper and lower parts of the body. Paraplegia is the paralysis of the lower part of the body. Monoplegia is the paralysis of only one limb. Quadriplegia is the paralysis of only the arms and legs. Finally, hemiplegia is the paralysis of one side of the body. These conditions may also be associated with sensory neuron impairment.
What is Diplegia?
Diplegia is a condition that associates stiffness, weakness, and lack of mobility in muscles on both sides of the body. Diplegia is often associated with cerebral palsy (CP). CP is a neurological disorder that affects muscle coordination and body movements and may be caused by infections or traumatic injuries in the spinal cord. There are many forms of CP, and diplegia is the most common form. Diplegia also refers to paralysis. The primary parts of the brain that gets affected due to diplegia are the ventricles, fluid-filled compartments in the brain, and the center of the brain to the cerebral cortex.
Diplegia is usually caused due to the degeneration of cerebral neurons as well as the upper motor neuron system. It affects body areas such as the face, arms, and legs. Facial diplegia is when both sides of the face are paralyzed. It usually takes place in most patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Those with diplegia in arms experience difficulties in reaching, grasping, releasing, pointing, and many other functions carried out by hands and arms. Diplegia of the legs is the paralysis of both legs. There are three levels of severity. Mild diplegia enables the person to walk but walk differently. Moderate diplegia causes a bend in the knees when walking. Severe diplegia usually requires crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair to move around.
What is Paraplegia?
Paraplegia is a type of paralysis that affects the ability to move the lower limbs of the body. Paraplegia is caused due to injuries or illnesses in the nervous system associated with the lower part of the body. Paraplegia disables the movement of legs, feet, and stomach muscles. During the condition of paraplegia, signals are unable to travel to and from the lower regions of the body. It prevents the signals from transmitting back up the spinal cord to the brain. People with paraplegic condition struggles with lower body movement and lose senses extensively in lower body parts.
There are two types of paraplegia: incomplete or partial paraplegia and complete paraplegia. Incomplete paraplegia does not affect both legs. Therefore, sometimes one leg is fully paralyzed while the other leg functions normally. This condition may lead to complete paraplegia if not treated properly. Complete paraplegia is when both legs have no feeling or function. Loss of bladder and bowel movements are also experienced in such conditions. This condition is mainly caused due to injuries in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine.
What are the Similarities Between Diplegia and Paraplegia?
- Diplegia and paraplegia affect the lower limbs.
- They have common symptoms such as uncontrollable bladder, bowel movements, and chronic pain.
- Moreover, they occur due to injuries and infections associated with the brain and spinal cord.
- Both are treated with occupational and physical therapy and surgeries.
- Diplegia and paraplegia are associated with motor neurons.
What is the Difference Between Diplegia and Paraplegia?
Diplegia is a condition that affects motor neurons of both the upper and lower parts of the body, while paraplegia is a condition that affects only the motor neurons of the lower half of the body. Thus, this is the key difference between diplegia and paraplegia. Diplegia affects arms, face, legs, and other areas of the body, while paraplegia only affects legs, feet, and stomach muscles.
The below infographic presents the differences between diplegia and paraplegia in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Diplegia vs Paraplegia
Motor neuron diseases are conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. This eventually causes paralysis. Diplegia is a condition that affects motor neurons of both the upper and lower parts of the body, while paraplegia is a condition that affects only the motor neurons of the lower half of the body. So, this is the key difference between diplegia and paraplegia.
1. Behring, S. “Paraplegia: Definition, Causes, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media.
2. “Diplegia.” SpinalCord.com.