AskDefine | Define paraplegic

Dictionary Definition

paraplegic adj : suffering complete paralysis of the lower half of the body usually resulting from damage to the spinal cord n : a person who has paraplegia (is paralyzed from the waist down)

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. of, related to, or suffering from paraplegia


of, related to, or suffering from paraplegia
  • Finnish: parapleginen


  1. A person who suffers from paraplegia.


person who suffers from paraplegia

Extensive Definition

Paraplegia is an impairment in motor and/or sensory function of the lower extremities. It is usually the result of spinal cord injury or a congenital condition such as spina bifida which affects the neural elements of the spinal canal. The area of the spinal canal which is affected in paraplegia is either the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions. If the arms are also affected by paralysis, tetraplegia is the proper terminology.


The causes range from trauma (acute spinal cord injury: transsection or compression of the cord, usually by bone fragments from vertebral fractures) to tumors (chronic compression of the cord), myelitis transversa and multiple sclerosis.

Peripheral nervous system

Rarer is the type which is caused by damage to the nerves supplying the legs. This form of damage is not usually symmetrical and would not cause paraplegia, but polyneuropathy may cause paraplegia if motor fibers are affected. While in theory the arms should also be affected, the fibers that supply the legs are longer and hence more vulnerable to damage. Larry Flynt, noted pornography magnate, sustained this form of nerve damage when he was shot in a murder attempt in 1978, rendering him paraplegic.


Due to decreased movement and loss of the ability to run, paraplegia may cause numerous medical complications, many of which can be prevented with vigilant self care. These include pressure sores (decubitus), thrombosis and pneumonia. Physiotherapy and various assistive technology, such as a standing frame, may aid in preventing these complications.
paraplegic in German: Querschnittsyndrom
paraplegic in Spanish: Paraplejía
paraplegic in French: Paraplégie
paraplegic in Italian: Paraplegia
paraplegic in Japanese: 対麻痺
paraplegic in Dutch: Dwarslesie
paraplegic in Polish: Paraplegia
paraplegic in Portuguese: Paraplegia
paraplegic in Serbian: Параплегија
paraplegic in Finnish: Paraplegia
paraplegic in Swedish: Paraplegi
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