Medical aspects of paraplegia
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When the spinal cord is damaged, there is loss of motor and sensory function below the level of the spinal cord lesion. The extent of the motor and sensory loss depends upon this level as well as the degree of damage to the spinal cord. At the level of the cervical region quadriplegia may result; and at the thoracic region, spastic paraplegia. At the level of the lumbar spine flaccid paralysis occurs due to injury of the cauda equina. Loss of bowel and bladder function is common when there is severe loss of motor function. It must also be remembered that not all injuries to the spinal cord lead to paraplegia and not all paraplegias are due to trauma. For example, compression of the spinal cord from one side by a tumour may cause monoplegia or hemiplegia (see page 6).
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