The main difference between paraplegia and tetraplegia is that paraplegia refers to complete or partial paralysis in both legs and parts of the lower abdomen (in some people,) whereas tetraplegia refers to paralysis of both legs and both arms.
Paralysis is the loss of ability to move some or all of your body. The causes of paralysis can vary vastly. It can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. Complete paralysis is a condition where a person cannot move or control his/her paralyzed muscles at all. He or she does not feel anything in those muscles. Partial or incomplete paralysis is when a person has some control or a feeling in the paralyzed muscles. Furthermore, there are different types of paralysis, according as paraplegia, tetraplegia, monoplegia, diplegia, and hemiplegia. Paralysis conditions can even come and go. Paralysis affects factors like blood flow, breathing, speaking, urge for urination, condition of the organs, swallowing, as well as sexual responses.
Key Areas Covered
Paraplegia, Paralysis, Tetraplegia
What is Paraplegia
Paraplegia refers to complete or partial paralysis in both legs and parts of the lower abdomen (paralysis from the waist downwards) in some people. It is the paralysis starting in the thoracic (T1-T12), lumbar (L1-L5), or sacral (S1-S5) area. However, this condition does not affect the arms and hands of a person. Paraplegia occurs when there is damage below the neck, types in the spinal cord. It causes muscle weakness and stiffness. The toes, legs, and feet are the areas of impaired mobility in paraplegic conditions. Sometimes this area includes the abdomen, as well.
Symptoms of paraplegia include chronic pain, inability to control body temperature, and low blood pressure. Moreover, paraplegia can happen to any person who suffers a spinal cord injury at the thoracic level or below the thoracic level.
What is Tetraplegia
Tetraplegia refers to the paralysis of both legs and both arms. It is also known as quadriplegia. Tetraplegia happens when the damage is at the base of the neck or skull. A person with tetraplegia experience paralysis of hands and partial paralysis of arms in addition to the paralysis of legs. A person with tetraplegia is referred to as tetraplegic.
This condition is a result of severe spinal cord injury in the cervical spinal cord. However, if the condition of the injury is larger, the affected person may face breathing difficulties as well, which may result in being on ventilators for the rest of their life. A tetraplegic person is generally weaker than a paraplegic person. Moreover, patients with tetraplegic conditions often need to be looked after full-time.
Difference Between Paraplegia and Tetraplegia
Paraplegia is the complete or partial paralysis of both the legs and sometimes the abdomen, whereas tetraplegia is the paralysis of both legs and arms.
Paraplegia affects the body parts below the waist, whereas tetraplegia affects both arms and legs.
Area of Lesion
In paraplegia, the lesion is found below the neck and in the spinal cord, but in tetraplegia, the lesion is found in the cervical spinal cord.
Tetraplegic patients are generally weaker than paraplegic patients and require full-time care.
Paraplegia and tetraplegia are two types of paralysis. The main difference between paraplegia and tetraplegia is that paraplegia is the paralysis of the body parts below the waist, including the legs, whereas tetraplegia is the paralysis of both legs and both arms. Generally, tetraplegic patients are generally weaker than paraplegic patients and require full-time care.
1. “Types of Paralysis.” WebMD.
1. “Paraplexia paraplegia” By Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga Commons)(Lmbuga Galipedia) – Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Neurological Levels & Types of Paralysis” By Servier Medical Art – “Dermatomes 2” by Servier Medical Art (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia