Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation types Treatment specialist Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Cerebral Palsy Evaluation

The evaluation of cerebral palsy begins with a medical history and physical examination.

In most cases, the diagnosis of cerebral palsy is difficult to make prior to six months of age.

Physical findings in an infant with cerebral palsy include:

  • Delayed motor skills
  • Infant reflexes are present past the age they should normally be absent:
    • Startle reflex
    • Sucking reflex
  • Muscle spasms may be present.

Tests are usually necessary to exclude other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Tests that may be used to evaluate cerebral palsy include:

Cerebral Palsy Types

Cerebral palsy is often described by the extent of limb involvement.

The types of movement disorders include the following:

  • Monoplegia:
    • Only one arm or one leg is affected
  • Hemiplegia:
    • The arm and leg on the same side are affected
  • Paraplegia:
    • Only the legs are affected
  • Diplegia:
    • Major movement problems with the legs and minor problems with the arms
  • Quadriplegia:
    • Arms, legs and spine are affected

Continue to Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cerebral Palsy References
  1. Bax M, Goldstein M, Rosenbaum P, Leviton A, Paneth N, Dan B, Jacobson B, Damiano D; Executive Committee for the Definition of Cerebral Palsy. Proposed definition and classification of cerebral palsy, April 2005. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Aug;47(8):571-6. [16108461]
  2. Bonellie SR, Currie D, Chalmers J. Comparison of risk factors for cerebral palsy in twins and singletons. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Sep;47(9):587-91. [16138664]
  3. Howard J, Soo B, Graham HK, Boyd RN, Reid S, Lanigan A, Wolfe R, Reddihough DS. Cerebral palsy in Victoria: Motor types, topography and gross motor function. J Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Sep-Oct;41(9-10):479-83. [16150063]
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